Current Event

RAUSCHENBERG: China/America Mix

October 22 – December 17, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Lecture by Dr. Donald Saff at 6-7pm in the Rush Library Auditorium
Opening reception in the Gallery from 7-9pm (with Musical Performances by Dickie Landry, Kat Epple and Sonic Combine)

Florida SouthWestern State College and lead sponsor FineMark National Bank & Trust is delighted to announce the first solo exhibition of world renowned artist Robert Rauschenberg since his memorial at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery in 2008 and the first installation in more than a decade of his monumental 100 ft.-long Chinese Summerhall (1984) photograph. RAUSCHENBERG: China/America Mix is the artist’s sixteenth one-man show at the College (since the Gallery was founded in 1979) and celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Gallery’s renaming and dedication in his honor.

Widely-acknowledged as one of the most important artists of the 20th Century, Rauschenberg is credited with pioneering the transition from European modernism to American pop art and was a local Lee County resident for nearly four decades.  His effect still looms large around the globe, but this is particularly evident in China.  Inspired by his 1982 visit to Jing Xian and his work at the ancient Xuan Paper Mill on his 7 [Chinese] Characters collages (included in this exhibition), Rauschenberg returned to China in 1985 to mount his Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) exhibition at the National Gallery in Beijing.  Open to the public for less than three weeks, Rauschenberg’s ROCI/China show attracted more than 300,000 visitors and is still considered a seminal cultural event.  To this day, the most recognized Chinese artists acknowledge his great influence and broader impact in describing art in China “before… and after Rauschenberg.”

As the artist once noted, “ROCI [was] an attempt to create universal art, imbued with cultures of various peoples, in order to contribute to the cause of peace.”  “While photographing the environs,” according to Dr. Donald Saff, “a sense of China unfolded in the viewfinder of Rauschenberg’s Hasselblad.” He continued, “The enthusiasm of his working methodology was his diplomacy and his art was magic for the people’s spirit.”

The RAUSCHENBERG: China/America Mix exhibition will open to the public from 7-9pm on Bob Rauschenberg’s October 22nd birthday with musical performances by longtime friends Dickie Landry, Kat Epple and Sonic Combine.  A pre-opening lecture on “Rauschenberg in China” will be presented from 6-7pm by distinguished guest, Dr. Donald Saff (Founder of USF’s Graphicstudio and Artistic Director of Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange/ROCI).

More about us: The Bob Rauschenberg Gallery was founded as The Gallery of Fine Art in 1979 on the Lee County campus of Florida SouthWestern State College/FSW (then Edison Community College).  On June 4th 2004 the Gallery of Fine Art was renamed the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, to honor and commemorate our long time association and friendship with the artist.  Over more than three decades until his death, the Gallery worked closely with Rauschenberg to present world premiere exhibitions including multiple installations of the ¼ Mile or Two Furlong Piece.  The artist insisted on naming the space the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery (versus the “Robert Rauschenberg Gallery”) as it was consistent with the intimate, informal relationship he maintained with both our local Southwest Florida community and FSW.

These events are open to the public, free of charge.  The first-come, first-served seating for the 6 pm lecture is limited. 

Generously sponsored by

 FineMark Logo

With additional support from Stanton Storer Embrace the Arts Foundation

Special Thanks for providing Opening Night Chocolate Norman Love Confections