Collage and oil paint on canvas
Dimensions: Image: 49 7/8 x 40 inches (126.7 x 101.6 cm)
Anonymous gift through the American Federation of Arts, Museum Donor Program
Rauschenberg, suspicious of the pretensions of fine art, experiments freely with nonart items and materials that others would dismiss as junk. He has said, "I don't really trust ideas, especially good ones. Rather I put my trust in the materials that confront me, because they put me in touch with the unknown." Rauschenberg's sensitivity to texture and material enables him to draw objects from completely unrelated contexts and juxtapose them in order to make a witty or poignant observation. In Migration, Rauschenberg has brought together many elements in a visually provocative manner: a clock without hands, a piece of a cardboard moving box, newspaper photographs, numbers from a sports jersey, and a soiled white shirt. He isolates these objects in distinct areas, yet pieces of the objects are found throughout the canvas. Even the paint that defines the areas is not static, but runs into neighboring colors. Rather than stating or even suggesting a fixed meaning, Rauschenberg brings together the flotsam and jetsam of the postindustrial world so that we, the viewers, are left to create our own set of meanings, just as we must do in the world outside the gallery. Collage assemblages such as Migration are typical of the works Rauschenberg produced in the 1950s, which changed during the 1960s with his greater use of the silkscreen process. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.