In 1999, Menil Collection curator Walter Hopps and SFMOMA Director David A. Ross interviewed Rauschenberg in the SFMOMA galleries during an exhibition featuring fourteen major works by the artist that the museum had recently acquired. Hopps had organized the 1976 and 1998 retrospectives of Rauschenberg’s work. In this excerpt from the video footage, Rauschenberg discusses approaching gallerist Betty Parsons for an assessment of his work. Parsons later organized the artist’s first solo exhibition, Paintings by Bob Rauschenberg (May 14–June 2, 1951), in which Mother of God (ca. 1950) was shown. Hopps and Ross join in to comment on the religious references of the work’s title and link the painting to other works from the period, including Crucifixion and Reflection (ca. 1950). Gary Garrels, then SFMOMA’s chief curator, and Peter Samis, then associate curator of education, also participated in the interview. A transcript of the full interview is available on the Related Information page. A transcript of this excerpt is available below.
Robert Rauschenberg discusses Mother of God (ca. 1950) at SFMOMA, May 6, 1999. Video edited by Richard Robertson, 2012
Total running time: 12 min. 14 sec.