“The film puts in context a moment of optimism and international outreach that seems particularly pertinent at this moment as an illumination of what art makes possible and what soft power can do,” says Amei Wallach, producer and director. “The electrifying footage we shot in Venice this spring will bridge past and present to explore the meaning of art and globalism today.”
In 1964, when Robert Rauschenberg became the first contemporary American artist to win the Grand Prize in painting at the Venice Biennale, it signaled the beginning of a tumultuous cultural shift, fixing the world’s gaze on American art. A new documentary by Amei Wallach, Americans in Venice: Robert Rauschenberg Rewrites the Rules, will tell this story of the intersection of art and international politics and the turbulent events surrounding this landmark moment. Through a rich trove of archival footage and interviews with leading artists, curators, and critics filmed in New York, London, and at the opening of the Venice Biennale this spring, Wallach will foreground the art against a background of world events.
The documentary film, which is expected to be released in March 2018, coincides with Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, a major retrospective, which debuted at Tate Modern. The exhibition is currently on view at New York’s Museum of Modern Art through September 17, 2017, and will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from November 18, 2017 through March 25, 2018.
“The film puts in context a moment of optimism and international outreach that seems particularly pertinent at this moment as an illumination of what art makes possible and what soft power can do,” says Amei Wallach, producer and director. “The electrifying footage we shot in Venice this spring will bridge past and present to explore the meaning of art and globalism today.” Wallach met Rauschenberg on a number of occasions in New York and at his studio in Captiva, Florida, beginning in the late 1970s, though her work as a journalist for Newsday, Smithsonian magazine, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.
Americans in Venice: Robert Rauschenberg Rewrites the Rules tells the story of how Rauschenberg’s seminal art developed, explores the art scene that produced it, chronicles its enduring influence on artists today, and looks at art by other legendary American artists who showed in Venice that year: among them, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, and John Chamberlain.
Image above: Robert Rauschenberg exhibition, Venice Biennale, 1964 June 21. Photograph: Shunk-Kender © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2014.R.20)
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