Robert Rauschenberg discusses Scanning at SFMOMA, May 6, 1999

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 identifies some of the imagery in Scanning, ranging from a photograph he took of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company to paw prints made by his kinkajou, Sweetie. Hopps likens Rauschenberg’s use of animal imagery (including the mosquitoes and caged bird in Scanning) to that of Medieval and Early Christian artists, who incorporated animals as innocent witnesses of human behavior. Rauschenberg also discusses working on Scanning on his studio floor. Gary Garrels, then SFMOMA's chief curator, and Peter Samis, then associate curator of education, also participate 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 Scanning (1963) at SFMOMA, May 6, 1999. Video edited by Richard Robertson, 2012

  • Total running time: 7 min. 42 sec.

  • Featured Artist: Robert Rauschenberg
  • SFMOMA Release Date: July 2013