We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have always found Rauschenberg's stuff interesting to look at. Long ago, when I dabbled in the journalism field while in college, I interviewed the guy. A friendly Texan, happy to talk. I wish I had had better questions for him.
I liked this piece of his at the Whitney last weekend. My photo lacks the detail and subtlety. It's a complex design, decorative.
That Rauschenberg (the person) was a friendly guy and easy to talk to says nothing about the value to the viewer of his paintings. Me, I tend to ignore art like this because it doesn't hold my interest more than momentarily.
Human beings have a hardwired propensity to look for patterns and meaning among the things in the world around them. That includes paintings, from shapeless daubs of color to finely rendered detailed views of the world in front of us. That built-in search for meaning probably leads us to attribute more to paintings like this than they deserve.
What holds my eye longer is painting that elicits — provokes? — an emotion that intrigues me. I can't easily define how that happens, but when art produces it I spend more time on it.
But as all images do — even 3D ones like sculpture — eventually they become familiar and lose much of the capacity to produce emotion. I suppose a measure of the quality of art for each individual lies in how long and how strong the emotion is.
Rauschenberg's work doesn't do much for me because it strikes me as too contrived and too much within a particular style of painting. He got a good career from that style, but it does little for me. For more on the career aspects, see Tom Wolfe's fascinating book The Painted Word.