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Art Museum of WVU reopens with new exhibition

Lotus Bed II (The Lotus Series) by Robert Rauschenberg

The Art Museum of West Virginia University reopens for the fall semester on Saturday, Aug. 21 with a new exhibition, “Rauschenberg in China: The Lotus Series.” This is the first U.S. venue for the exhibition after debuting in Denmark in 2017. 

Robert Rauschenberg was an influential American artist who, over a six-decade career, worked in painting, sculpture, photography performance and printmaking. Driven by curiosity, he was committed to a collaborative, experimental and interdisciplinary artistic practice.

Rauschenberg is best known for his “Combines,” three dimensional collage works made between 1954 and 1964, which blurred the distinction between painting and sculpture through the juxtaposition of found objects and traditional art making materials.

“Rauschenberg in China: The Lotus Series,” highlights Rauschenberg’s artistic interest in China, from photographs made during his first trip there in 1982 to the final large-scale graphic works he completed shortly before his death in 2008: “The Lotus Series.”

“The Lotus Series” consists of twelve large scale prints featuring photo-collages drawn from images of public and urban spaces in China. The title of the series comes from the distinctive lotus flower, which Rauschenberg featured prominently in each of the works.

Summer Hall image

The exhibition also considers the artist’s commitment to human rights and freedom of artistic expression through the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange (ROCI), an international traveling exhibition and cultural exchange program rooted in Rauschenberg’s firm belief in the power of art to bring about social change. In his words, ROCI was a way of “taking, making and exchanging art and facts around the world.”

“Rauschenberg in China: The Lotus Series” is presented at the Art Museum of WVU in collaboration with independent curator Florence Tone and collector Kevin Pottorf, Robert Rauschenberg’s former studio assistant. The exhibition is sponsored by Harvey and Jennifer Peyton. 

The Art Museum of WVU is open Thursday through Sunday from 12:30 to 6:00 p.m. Admission is always free. For more information on the museum, visit

The museum follows all COVID-19 safety protocols set by WVU for all of its campuses. Please visit for current information.

IMAGE: Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008)

Lotus Bed II (The Lotus Series), 2008

Inkjet pigment on paper

From an edition of 50, published by Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, New York
©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Universal Limited Art Editions

IMAGE: Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008)

Study for Chinese Summerhall (Lamp and Phone), 1983

Chromogenic print

24 x 20 inches; Sheet size, image 15 x 15 inches (61 x 50.8 cm)

From an edition of 30, published by Graphicstudio, U.S.F.©Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Graphicstudio, U.S.F.