From Currents

Robert Rauschenberg’s Features From Currents print series, produced in 1970, is a compelling exploration of contemporary social and political issues. The series captures the turbulent spirit of its era through a collage of newsprint and photographic imagery, reflecting Rauschenberg’s deep engagement with the world around him.

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Meaning & Analysis

Robert Rauschenberg’s Features From Currents series stands out as a profound commentary on the socio-political landscape of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Utilising screen printing techniques on large canvases, Rauschenberg directly transferred the content of newspapers onto his artworks, creating a raw and unfiltered reflection of the daily news that shaped public consciousness during a time of significant social conflict.

Each work within the series serves as a visual archive of the period, incorporating headlines, photographs, and texts that deal with topics from political scandals and civil rights struggles to technological advancements and cultural shifts. The choice to use newspapers not only underscores the ephemeral nature of news but also highlights the role of mass media in shaping perceptions and narratives. Rauschenberg’s technique of overlaying images and text creates a dense, almost chaotic composition that mirrors the complexity of the times.

The Features From Currents series is particularly noted for its scale and ambition. The large size of the prints enhances their impact, confronting the viewer with the immediacy of the issues depicted. Through this series, Rauschenberg critiques the overwhelming influx of information in modern society and its effect on individual and collective understanding.

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