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Academy Art Museum first to exhibit Rauschenberg ROCI works together in Maryland
Pictured is the Robert Rauschenberg: ROCI Works from the National Gallery of Art exhibition at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD. The Museum is the first museum to host the works together since their debut in 1991 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, which attracted 414,000 visitors.

EASTON, MD.- The Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD, announces the Robert Rauschenberg: ROCI Works from the National Gallery of Art exhibition are on display through March 6, 2016. This is the first exhibition of ROCI artworks in Maryland.

Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008), one of America’s most iconic 20th-century artists, was a painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the Pop Art movement. He is best known for his Combines of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. The Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI, pronounced “Rocky,” the name of the artist’s pet turtle) began its international tour in 1985 to enable and support Rauschenberg’s collaborations with artisans and workshops abroad and to promote world peace and understanding. Over a six-year period, Rauschenberg created works in host countries all over the world to be included in exhibitions in each country and donated a work of art to each location. The various exhibition catalogues included contributions by local poets, writers, and journalists.

Announced at the United Nations in December 1984, ROCI involved the artist making and presenting work while traveling with a team of assistants through 11 countries, including China, Tibet, the U.S.S.R., and former East Germany, as a way to foster cross-cultural dialogue. Some works remained in their original sites as gifts and others traveled with the ROCI team to be shared with future participants. Rauschenberg personally funded the project, which concluded with the exhibition Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange of over 125 works at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, in 1991, attracting 414,000 visitors.

“He is trying to introduce the world to itself,'' said ROCI artistic director and Easton resident Donald Saff. Dr. Saff has agreed to speak on Rauschenberg in the upcoming Museum’s Kittredge-Wilson lecture series on January 29 at 6 p.m.

Curator Anke Van Wagenberg has worked closely with Harry Cooper, Curator of Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, to establish the loan of 8 artworks to come to Easton. This will be the first time that these ROCI artworks have been exhibited together since the presentation in Washington, DC nearly a quarter of a century ago. The Academy Art Museum has produced a catalog to accompany the exhibition.

In addition to Robert Rauschenberg: ROCI Works from the National Gallery of Art, the Museum is hosting a second exhibition, Robert Rauschenberg: Kyoto, Sri Lanka, and Thai Drawings, which is also on display through March 6, 2016. Museum Curator Anke Van Wagenberg has worked closely with David White, Senior Curator at the Rauschenberg Foundation to create the exhibition. The Foundation agreed to loan 17 ROCI-related drawings, made by the artist in Kyoto, Japan; Sri Lanka; and Thailand. A new aspect of the exhibition is The ROCI Road to Peace: Experiments in the Unfamiliar organized by Nicole Bray, graduate of the MA Contemporary Art program at Sotheby's Institute of Art, New York, and winner of the inaugural Robert Rauschenberg Emerging Curator Competition (2014). Bray brings The ROCI Road to Peace to the Museum as a contemporary extension of the exhibition.

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