Remember Robert Rauschenberg of the '50s? The one who introduced "combines" made of old shoes, rusty cast-offs, an entire set of bedding and--in one famous case--a stuffed goat with a tire around its neck?
Since that seminal period of Pop art, we've come to know Rauschenberg as a collector of more manageable rubbish and a connoisseur of photographic images that he transfers onto collage-like artworks. His work has become more refined and lyrical, but it hasn't retained the clout of those brash, early pieces. They gave new life to improbable foundlings as if it were an inevitable development.
Now, in 13 pieces from his ongoing "Glut Series," the old Rauschenberg is back. Well, all right, it's impossible to follow the goat act and he doesn't introduce new wonders of taxidermy. He does, however, fashion raggedly muscular sculptures and wall pieces that put us in mind of his early work. They are made from such treasures as a rusty folding chair, a flattened stovepipe, floral grillwork and loads of sheet metal, variously painted, folded or rumpled.
Rauschenberg harvested these materials near his home on Captiva Island off Florida, but--apart from a couple of street signs--they convey no particular sense of place to the casual viewer. What they do impart is his eye for a consumer society's excess, along with his sharp sense of design and that talent for transforming junk by changing its context.