Robert Rauschenberg. Shades. 1964

Robert Rauschenberg Shades 1964

  • Not on view

Rauschenberg works in a variety of media, often pushing the boundaries of his materials to experiment with new ways of creating art. His prints are no exception: In 1963 he used a broken lithographic stone to make his famous print Accident, and, four years later, Booster—which shows an x–ray photograph of the artist's full body—was the largest handpulled print ever made.

Shades is one of Rauschenberg's earliest forays into bookmaking, and it, too, reinterprets its medium. Instead of paper, the book is constructed from an aluminum frame holding a fixed title page and five movable plates of plexiglass. Rauschenberg lithographed numerous images taken from newspapers and magazines on each panel. When the plates are inserted into the base—in one of six million possible permutations, according to one expert—the work becomes three dimensional and weblike, glowing from the light of a small bulb attached in the back.

Gallery label from Book/Shelf, March 26–July 7, 2008.
Multiple with six lithographs on plexiglass panels: one mounted permanently and five interchangeably in a slotted aluminum frame, and illuminated by an intermittent light bulb
composition (each, irreg.): 14 x 14" (35.5 x 35.5 cm); other (panel): 14 x 14" (35.5 x 35.5 cm); other (box): 15 1/8 x 14 1/2 x 11 3/4" (38.4 x 36.8 x 29.9 cm)
Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, New York
Universal Limited Art Editions, West Islip, New York
Gift of the Celeste and Armand Bartos Foundation
Object number
© 2019 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Drawings and Prints

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA's Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to