AUGUSTA, Ga. – On Sept. 21, in celebration of Augusta’s inaugural Westobou Festival, the Morris Museum of Art will unveil Robert Rauschenberg’s August Allegory (Anagrams) in its new location in the auditorium lobby on the museum’s first floor.
“Rauschenberg was undeniably one of the great figures in American art,” said Louise Keith Claussen, Director of Fine Arts at Morris Communications Co. and former director of the Morris Museum of Art, “and we are very fortunate to have some of his works in the collection of the Morris Museum, particularly fortunate to have a major work that is specific to Augusta, Georgia.”
Commissioned in 1996 and completed in 1997, Rauschenberg’s August Allegory is an extremely large – roughly 5 by 12 feet – work on paper, a montage, printed in vegetable dyes, created from the artist’s original photographs. Rauschenberg, working in collaboration with his partner Darryl Pottorf and assisted by the Morris’s former deputy director Rick Gruber, conducted the original shoot during a three-day visit to Augusta. Details of the work-in-progress appeared in the September 1996 issue of Vogue magazine in an article on the artist and his career.
Claussen, director of the museum when the Rauschenberg was commissioned, wrote recently that “the work reflects his response to both the details and spirit of Augusta as he saw it, and elements include several church steeples, Springfield Church, Sacred Heart Cultural Center, a 19th-century textile mill, the Confederate monument, a railroad bridge, an antebellum home, Augusta bricks, the ‘haunted pillar,’ and the feet of the bronze sculpture of Arnold Palmer.”
August Allegory is housed and presented in an extremely heavy frame, fabricated from aircraft aluminum by one of Rauschenberg’s studio assistants, sculptor Lawrence Voytek. The framed work weighs about 300 pounds and is both too large and too heavy for most of the museum’s walls. Because of its size and weight, August Allegory has rarely been on view. In its new location outside the museum’s auditorium, it will be accessible to the public whenever the auditorium is in use. A suite of the related photographic images will also be installed along the grand staircase leading to the museum’s second-floor lobby.
The unveiling ceremony will take place on September 21 at 3 p.m. and will feature a talk by poet Starkey Flythe about the artist’s life. The unveiling will follow the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival’s awards program for the Porter Fleming Literary Competition at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium. Admission is free.
The Westobou Festival was conceived in 2005 by the Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County, as part of their work on behalf of the Porter Fleming Foundation. Designed to showcase Augusta’s wealth of artistic talent, the inaugural Festival takes place between September 18 and 27, 2008, in downtown Augusta and on the campuses of Augusta State University, and Paine College. It features performances in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. A trademark of the Trustees of the Academy of Richmond County, Westobou Festival is produced by the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
Morris Museum of Art
Founded in 1985, the Morris Museum of Art is the oldest museum in the country that is devoted to the art and artists of the American South. The museum’s permanent collection of approximately five thousand paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculptures, dating from the late-eighteenth century to the present, is displayed in galleries dedicated to, among other things, antebellum portraiture, the Civil War, genre painting, still life, landscape, Southern Impressionism, and Modernism in the South. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and on Sunday, noon–5:00 p.m. For more information about the Morris Museum of Art, visit the museum’s web site at www.themorris.org or call 706-724-7501.
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