Prime Pump from ROCI USA (Wax Fire Works Series)199363 1/2 X 44 1/4 IN.(161.29 x 112.4 cm) color screenprint on paper and Lexan
Provenance Modern Art & Design Auction, Los Angeles Modern Auctions, May 19, 2013, Lot 392
Private Collection, United States
Robert Rauschenberg, along with Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein, started the revolution of Pop Art in the 1960s. Rauschenberg's later career was a time for the artist to work on experimental and innovative projects, including the 1993 "Prime Pump from ROCI USA (Wax Fire Works Series)." This series comes from the artist's philanthropic project, "ROCI USA," demonstrating "Rauschenberg's belief in the power of art as a catalyst for positive social change." The reference to "wax fire" in the title is Rauschenberg's term for encaustic - hot wax with colored pigments - which he used in other works from the series.
Executed in a small edition of just 17 examples, this piece incorporates printmaking, a medium to which he often returned to explore new modes for layering imagery. Rauschenberg worked on editions since the early 1960s when he was a fixture at the ULAE and Gemini G.E.L. printshops. Rauschenberg's printmaking and editioned works were an extension of the creative act for the artist; he could achieve sculptural and 3D effects through his editions.