Robert Rauschenberg: The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece

BCAM, Level 3
October 21, 2018–February 18, 2019

In 1961, Robert Rauschenberg said: “There is no reason not to consider the world as one gigantic painting.” Rauschenberg does just that in his monumental The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece (1981–98). Completed over a period of 17 years, the work is composed of 190 panels that combined measure approximately 1,000 feet—or a quarter mile—in length. The span marks the distance between Rauschenberg’s studio and home on Captiva Island, Florida, representing the artist’s central belief in collapsing the separation between art and life. An eclectic array of materials comprise the piece: various textiles, images culled from mass media, and photographs by the artist are interspersed between bold passages of paint, while everyday objects such as chairs, cardboard boxes, and traffic lights add sculptural depth. A soundtrack of ambient street sounds that Rauschenberg recorded during his extensive travels permeates the exhibition space.

The 1/4 Mile reveals the broad scope of Rauschenberg’s artistic practice through the multitude of materials and techniques employed. The piece serves as a self-contained retrospective of the artist’s oeuvre, referencing important bodies of work such as his White Paintings (1951), Combines (1954–64), Currents (1970; in LACMA’s collection), Cardboards, (1971–72), and Gluts (1986–89/1991–94). The 1/4 Mile also pictures a wide range of art historical material from diverse cultures and time periods.

LACMA’s presentation is the first time The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece will be exhibited in its entirety, and the first time any portion of the work will be on view on the West Coast.

This exhibtion was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

All exhibitions at LACMA are underwritten by the LACMA Exhibition Fund. Major annual support is provided by Kitzia and Richard Goodman and Meredith and David Kaplan, with generous annual funding from Jerry and Kathleen Grundhofer, the Judy and Bernard Briskin Family Foundation, Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation, Emily and Teddy Greenspan, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross, David Lloyd and Kimberly Steward, David Schwartz Foundation, Inc., and Lenore and Richard Wayne.