Robert Rauschenberg: Surface Series

From Currents

June 3, 2022 - October 15, 2022

"I want to shake people awake. I want people to look at the material and react to it. I want to make them aware of individual responsibility, both for themselves and for the rest of the human race. It has become easy to be complacent about the world. The fact that you paid a quarter for your newspaper almost satisfies your conscience: Because you have read your newspaper, you have done your bit. And so you wrap your conscience in your newspaper just like you wrap your garbage. . . . I made [Currents] as realistically as I could, as austerely as possible, in the most direct way I knew how, because, knowing that it was art, people had to take a second look, at least, at the facts they were wrapping their garbage in."

—Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008)

This exhibition presents Surface Series (1970), an important group of eighteen screen prints by Robert Rauschenberg. He made the prints at the threshold of a new decade, to “shake people awake,” to open their conscience to the world around them. For each of the prints in the series, Rauschenberg overlaid images and headlines drawn from contemporary newspapers—some shown as negatives, others as positives, all of them black and white. Many of them display large moiré dot patterns, which are usually unwanted products of commercial printing processes. In this context, however, they take on an artistic quality, much like the half-tone dots used in the Pop-inspired works of Roy Lichtenstein. Each of the prints measure forty by forty inches. 

Initially, Rauschenberg envisioned the Surface Series prints as part of a larger project, one that included a second set of twenty-five prints—known as Features—which were to be hand-sewn together to make a colossal paper quilt that was to hang at Dayton's Gallery 12 (Minneapolis). The quilted print project was not realized; however, the prints were published as separate editions. 

The Surface Series was printed on Aqua B 844 paper, 1970, signed and dated in pencil. Co-published by Dayton’s Gallery 12 (Minneapolis) and Castelli Graphics (New York). Image: 35 x 35 in.; paper: 40 x 40 in. Edition: 100 plus 4 artist’s proofs and 2 printer’s proofs.

Robert Rauschenberg, Surface Series from Currents, screen prints. Gift of Lawrence and Carol Zicklin, 1982.13.1.1–18.

Helen Hsu: Rauschenberg's Surface Series

Thursday September 22nd, 7pm

Rubendall Recital Hall, Weiss Center for the Arts

Associate Curator Helen Hsu of The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will deliver a lecture on Rauschenberg's Surface Series, currently on view at The Trout Gallery.  Hsu has conducted extensive research on the series, including a comprehensive investigation of the media sources Rauschenberg used when creating the works.  Her analysis reveals the complex and powerful ways that Rauschenberg delivers a critique of news media by using its most persuasive visual strategies.


Highlights From the Permanent Collection

August 26, 2022 - February 25, 2023

Favored for its durability and distinctive appearance, metalworkers have used bronze since the second millennium B.C.E. for functional and decorative objects. This exhibition highlights examples of figural bronze sculpture from The Trout Gallery permanent collection, including objects that span four continents and eleven centuries. 


Ward Davenny

October 28, 2022 - April 15, 2023

Noise brings recent drawings, paintings, prints, and photographs by Dickinson Professor Emeritus of Art Ward Davenny into dialogue with original music composed to accompany his work.  Davenny received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1977, and his MFA from Yale in 1982. He has received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grants, in 1985 and 1993, and two Mid-Atlantic/Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Individual Fellowship Grants, in 1996 and 2006.

Davenny is represented in numerous collections, including The British Museum in London, The Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and The Honolulu Academy of Arts, among many others. 

The musical composition Draw Onward by Yehudi Wyner (2022) is dedicated to Ward Davenny. This piece was commissioned by the Trout Gallery at Dickinson College to celebrate Davenny's years of teaching at the college and to honor him in his retirement.

on YOUTUBE with accompanying video



Memory and Modernity

Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints of the Natural World

March 3, 2023 - April 15, 2023

In East Asia, artists have long dedicated themselves to capturing the fleeting moments of nature through the lively renderings of birds, insects, flowers, and animals. Collectively known as "bird-and-flower" images, the genre's rich symbolisms make them an ideal vehicle to mark and celebrate auspicious events. In the early 20th century, high demand of bird-and-flower images from the Western market prompted the production of modern prints of flora and fauna, especially in Japan. This exhibition features prints of the natural world created primarily for the Western market. Balancing naturalism with artifice in the vivid depictions of birds, insects, flowers, and other auspicious animals, artists honored the prestigious tradition while also innovating the genre with modern techniques and methods. 

This exhibition is curated by senior art history majors Ellie Mariani, Sydney Nguyen and Ava Zadrima under the direction Ren Wei.




Senior Studio Majors

Thesis Exhibition

April 28, 2023 - May 21, 2023

This exhibition features projects by senior studio art majors Kate Altman, Nate Chaves, Josephine Cook, FaSade Fagoroye, Stephanie Henderson, Caitlyn Longest, Anika Naimpally, Belle O’Shaughnessy, Matthew Presite, Olivia Schapiro, Iris Shaker-Check and Han Trinh under the guidance of Eleanor Conover with with the assistance of Todd Arsenault, Andy Bale, Rachel Eng, and Amy Boone-McCreesh.