The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation created its Artist as Activist print project, championing Robert Rauschenberg’s legacy of using art as a vehicle for change. In carrying forward his tradition, the foundation has chosen the Coalition for the Homeless as beneficiary for the pilot year of the project. Together, the foundation and the coalition have selected artist Shepard Fairey as this year’s Artist as Activist. A limited edition of 100 signed prints commissioned from Fairey will be made available for sale through Artnet Auctions, with all proceeds going to support the Coalition. “Shepard Fairey embodies Robert Rauschenberg’s belief that ‘Art can change the world,'” said Christy MacLear, Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. “Not only does Shepard already have a record as an artist activist, which we wanted to highlight and celebrate, but he also credits Rauschenberg as a major influence, making our choice a simple one.”
The “Artist as Activist” program honors Robert Rauschenberg’s legacy of creating prints and posters to heighten awareness and to raise funds for humanitarian, international and environmental missions. The Foundation’s program supports the creation of new prints through collaborations between artists and organizations specializing in health and human services, the environment or global issues. Artists will create limited edition prints that will be sold to raise funds for the selected organization.
Rauschenberg exemplified himself the role of “Artist as Activist” and he earned the title “artist-citizen” in 1976 during his critically acclaimed retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in praise of his artistic and social energy. Rauschenberg used his art to expand the dialogue about art-related issues that required attention and investment. Among the subjects of Rauschenberg’s prints were apartheid, nuclear disarmament, economic development, population control, and artists’ rights.