Edward Tyler Nahem gallery is upping the ante for Art Basel in Miami Beach starting December 7th by giving over half of its booth to Robert Rauschenberg’s massive 30ft x 14ft work, Periwinkle Shaft. Nahem has a substantial seven-figure asking price for the work commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts for placement at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The work comes from one of Rauschenberg’s most prolific periods (1975-1981) when he was making the so-called Spreads.
“The Spreads, laid out in grid like, usually rectangular patterns, refer back to Rauschenberg’s silkscreen paintings in that they are filled with colorful imagery from magazines,” wrote Mary Lynn Kotz in her monograph, Rauschenberg/Art and Life. “The canvas or fabric had been laminated onto mahogany panels by using matte medium (an acrylic) adhesive and iron-on heat glue. […] Nearly every Spread has some eccentricity of shape. […] Sheets of transparent colored acrylic and colored Plexiglas mirrors entered his store of materials in the series; concealed neon and other kinds of electric lighting gave most of the new Spreads a colorful glow.”
Update: An earlier version of this post appeared in the AMM newsletter with an error describing the work as priced at a “substantial eight-figure” sum. That was a typo. The correct version is above reflecting the work’s seven-figure asking price.