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Indepth Arts News:

"Robert Rauschenberg: Synapsis Shuffle "
2000-06-29 until 2000-10-08
Whitney Museum of Art
New York, NY, USA

The Whitney Museum presents Synapsis Shuffle (1999), a monumental new work by Robert Rauschenberg. In its complete form, Synapsis Shuffle comprises fifty-two 9 1/2-foot-high panels with photographic imagery, each panel varying in widths of up to 5 feet. The title and number of panels allude to a deck of cards, an appropriate metaphor for this work's unique installation method: each time it is installed in a new location, it is meant to be shuffled by a different person or persons into new compositions of no more than seven and no fewer than three panels. As a result, this perpetually refreshed work reflects the installer's vision as well as the artist's.

The extraordinary range of imagery in Synapsis Shuffle, from the banal to the exotic, derives from photographs Rauschenberg took during his global travels--snapshots of street life and buildings, images culled from the media and advertising, and lyric passages of the natural world. As much a piece of Installation or Performance art as it is a painting or sculpture, Synapsis Shuffle is a magnificent example of the use of chance or participatory elements that has been a hallmark of Rauschenberg's career.

Synapsis Shuffle is a promised gift from Leonard A. Lauder, chairman, Whitney Museum of American Art.


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