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Robert Rauschenberg and the Environmental Crisis will run March 6-April 12

Robert Mattison, Metzger Professor of Art History, has organized an exhibition by artist and environmental activist Robert Rauschenberg titled Last Turn – Your Turn: Robert Rauschenberg and the Environmental Crisis for the Jacobson Howard Gallery in New York City.

The exhibition will run March 6-April 12 at the gallery, located at 33 East 68 Street. An opening reception will be held March 6 from 5-8 p.m. Mattison contributed an essay to the exhibit’s illustrated catalogue. He is also the author of Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries (2003).

Rauschenberg’s work will focus on issues such as global warming, the intersection of industrial development, and planetary health.

“Rauschenberg has been a force in [world ecology] for many years,” says Mattison. “He designed the first Earth Day poster, the official image for the Rio Earth Summit, and much more.”

Beginning with creating the first Earth Day poster in 1970, Rauschenberg has been deeply engaged in addressing environmental issues. For the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Rauschenberg created “Last Turn – Your Turn,” which was the artist’s call to action for the individual to take responsibility for the planet’s wellbeing. As well as “Last Turn – Your Turn,” the exhibit will feature many of the artists’ most significant artworks that draw attention to potential ecological dangers.

Rauschenberg first came to prominence during the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art in the 1950s. He is perhaps most famous for his “Combines” made in the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. While the Combines are both painting and sculpture, Rauschenberg has also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance. In 1964 Rauschenberg became the first American artist to win the Grand Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale contemporary art exhibition.

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