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Detail of Robert Rauschenberg's Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) showing troweled plaster edge

Related to Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996

Robert Rauschenberg, Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat), 1996 (detail)

Research Material
Artwork Detail

The rough, troweled plaster edges of Catastrophe (Arcadian Retreat) contrast markedly with the work’s smooth wooden frame. By drawing attention to the plaster’s natural texture, Rauschenberg highlights the technical expertise demonstrated in his use of this material. After transferring photographic images onto the wet plaster, the artist marred its surface, distressing the images to mimic the crumbling facades of the buildings pictured in many of his source images. He then applied a layer of wax to this diverse plane of smooth and rough areas, sealing the transferred images.

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