Prowling in the Wilderness

"...colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middle class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets is each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness..." - Jack Kerouac in The Dharma Bums
Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, 1953.












Hudson River Landscape
Looking North
David Smith, Hudson River Landscape, 1951.
Dorothy Dehner, Looking North, 1964.










Competing Sensibilities in postwar American art:
America vs. Europe
Gestural abstraction vs. Purified Abstraction
Objecthood vs. Flatness of the Picture Plane
Figuration vs. Abstraction
Performance vs. Objecthood
Masculinity vs. Homosexuality
Artist, Allan Kaprow saw Pollock as opening up two avenues within postwar art. One involved continuing in a modernist vein. The other offered a radical option to artists; "to give up the making of paintings entirely... Pollock left us at the point where we must become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life." - Allan Kaprow, The Legacy of Jackson Pollock, 1958
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, 1955.











Influenced by John Cage's idea that art should "unfocus" the spectator's mind

Erased De Kooning

Robert Rauschenberg, Erased De Kooning, 1953.











Robert Rauschenberg, Bed, 1955.











Leda and the Swan
Robert Rauschenberg, Bed, 1955.
Cy Twombly, Leda and the Swan, 1962.











Neo Dada = style of art which reinvestigates Dada's use of irony, found objects and banal activities as instruments of social and aesthetic critique

Target with Plaster Casts

Jasper Johns, Target with Plaster Casts, 1955.
Characteristics of Neo-Dada works:
  • Use of modern, everyday materials and popular imagery
  • Absurdist contrast
  • Denial of traditional concepts of aesthetics and beauty











"Junk Sculpture"

Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral, 1958.
John Chamberlain, Miss Lucy Pink, 1963.











Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral Southern Mountain, 1959.











In response to an exhibition of Louise Nevelson's work in 1946, a critic said, "We learned the artist was a woman, in time to check our enthusiasm. Had it been otherwise, we might have hailed these sculptural expresssions as by surely a great figure among the moderns."


Louise Nevelson, Gold Relief, 1964.











Man with the White Shoes

Man with the White Shoes

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled
(Man with the white shoes) front view, 1954.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled
(Man with the white shoes) back view, 1954.











Man with the White Shoes

Man with the White Shoes

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Man with the white shoes) (inside reflection), 1954.
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (Man with the white shoes) (detail of back), 1954.











Odalisk word play:


Odalisque = a female slave or concubine who tends to
the harem of the Turkish sultan
Obelisk = tall, thin, four-sided, tapering monument
which ends in a pyramidal top

Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, Grand Odalisque, 1814.
Robert Rauschenberg, Odalisk, 1955 - 1958.











References to Gender in Odalisk:
  • Title word play
  • Pin-Ups
  • Photos of the artist's mother, and sister
  • Male chicken
  • Phallic leg
  • Soft pillow
Camp Iconography and Gender Performance

Robert Rauschenberg, Odalisk, 1955 - 1958.











Washington Monument