Publication

Öyvind Fahlström on Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage

Part of Rauschenberg Research Project

  • Öyvind Fahlström on Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage

    Öyvind Fahlström, “En gata full av presenter,” Konstrevy 37, no. 5–6 (1961): 176–81

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Trophy IV (for John Cage) without the flashlight, published in 1961

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Trophy IV (for John Cage) (1961) without the flashlight. Photo: Rudy Burckhardt, ca. 1961, courtesy the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; © Estate of Rudy Burckhardt / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Pictured artwork © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

  • Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg's Trophy IV (for John Cage), Leo Castelli Gallery, 1961

    Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg’s Trophy IV (for John Cage) (1961) in Rauschenberg, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, November 7–December 5, 1961. Leo Castelli Gallery Records, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

  • View of Robert Rauschenberg's Trophy IV (for John Cage) without the flashlight

    View of Robert Rauschenberg’s Trophy IV (for John Cage) (1961) without the flashlight, from a slide taken ca. 1961. Image courtesy the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

  • Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg's Trophy IV (for John Cage), SFMOMA, 2010

    Installation view of Robert Rauschenberg's Trophy IV (for John Cage) (1961) in 75 Years of Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show, SFMOMA, December 19, 2009–January 16, 2011

  • Trophy IV (for John Cage)

    Robert Rauschenberg, Trophy IV (for John Cage), Fri Sep 01 00:00:00 PDT 1961; metal, fabric, boot, wood, tire tread, chain, paint, tape, and flashlight, 33 in. x 82 in. x 21 in. (83.82 cm x 208.28 cm x 53.34 cm); Purchase through a gift of Phyllis Wattis; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; photo: Ben Blackwell


This essay by artist Öyvind Fahlström (1928–1976) appeared in the Swedish journal Konstrevy in late 1961. The title, which translates as “A Street Full of Presents,” is drawn from an article Cage wrote about Rauschenberg that had been published by the Italian journal Metro in May of that year. Cage had characterized Rauschenberg as someone who makes those around him aware of the inherently pleasurable qualities of everyday things, writing that in his company “I noticed the streets were full of presents . . . you simply place yourself in focus, and everything . . . may be used as a poetry of endless possibilities.” The article includes a passage in which Fahlström describes the action of the swinging boot clanging into the crumpled metal form in Trophy IV (for John Cage), and quotes Rauschenberg’s explanation, “The sound is a tribute to Cage.” An English transcription of this article, translated from the Swedish by Lars Nordström, is available below.


Transcript