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United States of America 1925 – 2008



publisher (organisation)

Box cars 1975 Description: Box cars: from Bones and unions

Collection Title: the 'Bones and unions' series, 1975
Title Notes: RR75-714
Place made: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: prints, paperwork paper pulp, bamboo strips, calico fabrics Support: paper pulp
Impression: artist proof 6
Edition: edition of 31, plus 11 artist's proofs; right to print; printer's proof II; 5 special proofs; 3 Gemini impressions; Change Inc., impression
Publisher: GEMINI G.E.L.
Place Published: Los Angeles
Date Published: 1975

Edition Notes: Collaboration and experimentation by Charles Ritt. Production by Sidney Felsen, Robert Petersen, Christopher Rauschenberg, Charles Ritt. All rag paper pulp was poured into a wooden mold crafted to the artist's specifications. Pieces of fabric and bamboo strips were pre-cut, tied to the artist's specifications, and then laid onto the lower layer of paper pulp. A second layer of paper pulp was poured. Each work was then pressed and dried.
Primary Insc: RR 75-714, cat. 639
Dimensions: overall 85.6 h x 67.0 w x 6.2 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1977
Accession No: NGA 77.907.5
Image rights: © Robert Rauschenberg/VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy
  • Rauschenberg’s quest for international involvement took him to Ahmadabad, India, to work in a paper mill that had been established as an ashram for ‘untouchables’. His specific environment provided him with materials and he set about making the Bones and unions series. For the Bones, the collaborative team combined strips of bamboo with handmade paper embedded with segments of brightly coloured Indian fabrics. In creating the Unions, Rauschenberg sought to incorporate the mud that was used by the villagers to build their homes. He concocted a rag-mud mixture, which consisted of paper pulp, fenugreek powder, ground tamarind seed, chalk powder, gum powder and copper sulphate mixed with water, all of which was then kiln fired. For Rauschenberg, the striking contrast between the sensuous colour of the saris and the aromatic and earthy aesthetic of the rag-mud encapsulated the manifest social and cultural contrasts of India.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra