Robert Rauschenberg

Revenue (Spread)


Not on display

Robert Rauschenberg 1925–2008
Board, paper, fabric, aluminium and Perspex
Object: 2435 × 2640 × 670 mm
Purchased 1982

Catalogue entry

Robert Rauschenberg born 1925

T03376 Revenue (Spread) 1980

Fabric and painted board with collaged paper, printing ink, body colour, aluminium, mirrored plexiglass and ironing board 2435 x 2640 x 670 (96 x 104 x 26 3/8)
Inscribed on back: ‘Panel #3 | [arrow pointing upwards] up | 80.50 REVENUE SPREAD | PANEL B | 2 OF 2 | RAUSCHENBERG 80' on left panel with diagram of assembly instructions; ‘Panel #2 [arrow pointing upwards] top | up | IRONING BOARD IS NEVER | TO BE REMOVED !' on top centre panel with diagram of assembly instructions; ‘Panel #2 bottom | [arrow pointing upwards] up' and diagram of assembly instructions; ‘Panel 1 | [arrow pointing upwards] UP | REVENUE (SPREAD) | 80.50 PANEL A | 1 of 2 | RAUSCHENBERG 80' on right panel with diagram of assembly instructions
Purchased from Sonnabend Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Exh: Robert Rauschenberg, Tate Gallery, April-June 1981 (75); on loan to Tate Gallery from April 1981 until date of purchase

'Revenue (Spread)' consists of five panels welded and bolted together at the back. The panels are divided along the edges of the mirrored plexiglass which is fitted to the centre panel and surrounded by a metal strip. Various images are represented on the front surface, which is covered in a number of places by fabric, by means of solvent transfer using a lithographic press. A number of different fabrics have been employed. Images are also affixed to areas of painted board and to the underside of the ironing board which is in an extended position pointing downwards. The mirror, to which it is attached, reflects these images. The solvent transferred images have the appearance of being flattened and bleached whereas those reflected in the mirror appear sharp.

The character of the images may not be classifiable but extends across the range of images previously employed by the artist. However, those which stand out in particular are related to natural wonders, architectural wonders, technology and American street life. There is no apparent reason for the choice of images other than artistic judgement.

‘Revenue (Spread)' is one of a series of approximately 95 ‘Spreads' which Rauschenberg made between 1976 and 1981. According to the artist's curator, David White, in answer to questions posed by the compiler, T03376 was ‘among the last 20 executed'. He also stated that Rauschenberg ‘worked on "Spreads" and "Scales" simultaneously. "Scales" tended to be more 3-dimensional - sometimes even freestanding'.

The first ‘Spread' was entitled ‘Rodeo Palace (Spread)' 1975-6 (Sidney Singer Junior, repr. Robert Rauschenberg Werke 1950-80, exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin 1980, p.377 in col.). Lawrence Alloway has suggested in this catalogue that ‘Spreads' may refer back to ‘Bed' 1954 (repr. ibid., p.271), one of Rauschenberg's first combines, in that ‘spread' is a correlative of ‘bed'. The ‘Spreads' also refer back to the ‘Hoarfrost' series, which Rauschenberg began in 1974, in their use of solvent transferred images on fabric, although unlike in the ‘Spreads', the fabric in the ‘Hoarfrost' series remains unstretched. Furthermore the ‘Spreads' are combines in the sense that Rauschenberg employs found objects in their raw states.

When the first examples in the series of ‘Spreads' and ‘Scales' were exhibited at the Castelli and Sonnabend Galleries in New York in April-May 1977 William Zimmer wrote in Arts Magazine that ‘In recent years the artist has left everything out, the "Jammers" being the prime example. Perhaps stimulated by his retrospective and the heady full painting of his trailblazing days, Rauschenberg has put everything in again' (‘Robert Rauschenberg', Arts Magazine, vol.52, Sept. 1977, p.33). Rauschenberg held a retrospective exhibition at the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. in October 1976 until January 1977. The ‘Jammer' series, exhibited there, consisted of very spare works, generally simple blocks of colour fabric, held against the wall by poles. It is suggested that the ‘Spreads' and ‘Scales' were produced in reaction against such astringency.

This entry has been approved by the artist.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.555

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