Drawing in the daily news: Politics and temporality in Robert Rauschenberg's early solvent transfers

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This article offers the first sustained exploration of a group of transfer drawings made by Robert Rauschenberg in 1958, a crucial moment in the artist’s long and influential career. The discussion is grounded in the discovery of Rauschenberg’s newspaper source material, which points to striking yet undisclosed patterns of reference within the works, enabling new interpretations and richer forms of connection to the historical moment of their production. Perhaps more important, they also reveal a striking temporal compression: in one drawing, for example, every transfer was made from newspapers published on a single day. This aligns the drawings not just with the legible content of the newspaper but also with its temporal logic. The article explores Rauschenberg’s embrace of contingency, his appeal to and subversion of reading habits proper to the papers, and the role of intermittence and fragmentation in the work, alongside his motivated engagement with specific political themes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-121
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Art
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Rauschenberg
  • Drawing
  • Newspaper
  • Mass media
  • Krčma
  • Transfer
  • Nehru
  • American art
  • 1950s

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