By Thomas Frederick Folland
Robert Rauschenberg's painted, sculptural assemblages of came across gadgets, photographic reproductions, print and upholstery fabrics have bothered paintings heritage of their refusal to yield any coherency of shape or which means. Monogram , 1955-59, is likely one of the final of Robert Rauschenberg's major "Combines," and it truly is no exception: it's an outlandish concoction that includes a crammed angora goat squeezed via a rubber tire and status on a wooden platform of collaged fabric. it sort of feels to be, actually, a funny story. The paint-smeared snout of the goat is attribute of the gestural abstraction of the hot York college, yet instead of flattened out onto an expanse of canvas, the brushwork is the outermost aspect of a truly theatrical and heterogeneous assemblage of stumbled on gadgets. may perhaps it no longer be argued, even if, that this "joke" may perhaps in reality be a part of a bigger problem to modernism that constituted whatever way more severe? That problem is argued in my dissertation to be a queer critique of the tradition of modernism within the postwar decade of the 1950s.
The better target of this dissertation is to re-read mid-century modernism and its narratives that experience coalesced round this era. Navigating during the predominate strands of Rauschenberg scholarship, this dissertation seeks to problematize the principally postmodern examining of Rauschenberg, during which his work's seeming illegibility has lengthy been noticeable as a critique of modernist illustration. however it additionally questions the new new wave of paintings heritage that has sought to find mounted buildings of homosexual id in Rauschenberg's paintings via a conventional iconographical strategy. Mobilizing either the questions of illegibility and identification, Rauschenberg's inventive perform is outlined queerly as a sort of resistance to dominant modes of subjectivity inaugurated throughout the painterly discourse of the hot York university. Weaving the tropes of decorativeness, theatricality and a camp aesthetic via a variety of and overlapping groupings of Combines produced in the course of the Fifties, Rauschenberg's modernism is redefined as a queer one.