Did you know that Robert Rauschenberg was the stage manager for the late great Merce Cunningham’s Dance Company when it just started out on tour in the 1960s?
Rauschenberg began his lifetime collaboration with dancers first as a set designer, then costume and lighting designer for Cunningham’s dances. Their collaboration dates back as early as 1954 for “Minutae,” and many of the pieces were still used in late productions. As a costume designer, Rauschenberg created everything from impressionistically spotted leotards and tights, to squintingly bright solid colored outfits. He also became one of the most creative and adept lighting designers while working on these productions. Though the two did not work as closely after 1965, the two remained close friends for decades and worked together on a performance as late as 2000.
After he left Cunningham, Rauschenberg became more enmeshed with the world of dance and began one of his best known collaborative relationships, with Trisha Brown.
Robert Rauschenberg’s designs for Trisha Brown’s productions will be available on the Trisha Brown’s Dance Center Foundation benefit auction, January 9 through 26. View offerings here.