When Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008) selected Charleston, South Carolina, as one of six American cities to highlight in his monumental 1980 photography project, In + Out City Limits, the pioneering artist was returning to his artistic roots. Rauschenberg, along with fellow southerner, Jasper Johns, is renowned for disrupting New York's Abstract Expressionist movement. His paintings, infused with commercial imagery and everyday objects, would presage the Pop Art movement. But long before he became known as one of the twentieth century's most influential artists, Rauschenberg found much of his inspiration through the lens of his Rollieflex camera. His first experiences with photography were in the South as a student at Black Mountain College outside Asheville, North Carolina between 1949 and 1952, and Charleston was one of his earliest subjects. Rauschenberg in Charleston revisits a selection of Rauschenberg's Charleston photographs taken between 1952 and 1981, and examines their appearance in several later works.
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