Sometimes when I get up in the morning and step into my bath,
I think of Rauschenberg and want to check that nothing untoward has happened to his animal.
Has he escaped?
Sor Aqua (Venetian) and detail, 1973, wood and metal suspended with rope over water-filled bathtub with glass jug.
Robert Rauschenberg, 1925-2008, American. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on loan to MOMA in 2017.
The artist returned to Venice in 1973. This work is one of several he made to recall, with the bathtub, the canals; and with the rusting metal above the bathtub, the deteriorated, aging surfaces of Venice.
Monogram and detail, 1955-59, oil, paper, printed reproductions, metals, wood, rubber shoe heel and tennis ball on two conjoined canvases with oil, an Angora taxidermied goat with brass plaque and rubber tire on wood platform mounted on four casters.
Robert Rauschenberg, 1925-2008, American. Moderna Museet, Stockholm loaned to MOMA, NY in 2017.
It was four years of experimentation for the artist before he decided, with the advice of Jasper Johns, to let him just stand there on his canvas with the tire around his middle. The artist was reminded of the interweaving of the letters of a monogram with this goat and his tire.
There are many interpretations of this work. I like that it juxtaposes our natural and fabricated worlds, our very rich milieu. I don’t like that this goat is constrained. But then I like angora wool.