Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Two Men in Rome (in Love)

Robert Rauschenberg, Cy and the Roman Steps (1952)
A set of five gelatin silver photographs

Robert Rauschenberg, Cy and the Roman Steps (1952)
A set of five gelatin silver photographs

Robert Rauschenberg, Cy and the Roman Steps (1952)
A set of five gelatin silver photographs

Robert Rauschenberg, Cy and the Roman Steps (1952)
A set of five gelatin silver photographs

Robert Rauschenberg, Cy and the Roman Steps (1952)
A set of five gelatin silver photographs

Robert Rauschenberg [1925-2008] met Cy Twombly (1928–2011) in 1951, when both artists were enrolled at the Art Students League of New York. They went on to study at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina, where they began a rich (and briefly romantic) lifelong relationship. Anchoring their bond was an eight-month journey to Europe and North Africa—a trip that catalyzed some of their earliest experiments in photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture and served as Twombly’s introduction to Italy, a country he would claim as his home from 1957 until his death in 2011.

... Twombly and Rauschenberg had become intimately involved just before leaving New York. The unmistakably erotic charge of the progression—centered, after all, on Twombly’s groin—offers us a window on photographer and subject coming to terms with their new relationship against the backdrop of Rome.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - Overview