ROCI research guide

This guide provides links to a selection of digitized or online materials related to Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI). Materials provided in this guide are for reference and research purposes only. For reproduction requests, email the archives.


Rauschenberg’s belief in the power of art as a catalyst for positive social change was at the heart of his participation in numerous international projects in the 1970s and early 1980s, and which culminated between 1984 and 1991 with his Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI). ROCI (pronounced “Rocky,” the name of the artist’s pet turtle) was a tangible expression of Rauschenberg’s long-term commitment to human rights and to the freedom of artistic expression. Funded almost entirely by the artist, Rauschenberg traveled to countries around the world often where artistic experimentation had been suppressed, with the purpose of sparking a dialogue and achieving a mutual understanding through the creative process. Between 1985 and 1990, the project was realized in ten countries in the following order: Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, China, Tibet, Japan, Cuba, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Germany, and Malaysia with a final exhibition held in 1991 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

View ROCI Art in Context (website)


Archival Documents 
Archival documents including passports, statements, the United Nations announcment, and Rauschenberg's writing on the ROCI project. 

View select digitized archival materials (PDF)


Documentary Photographs 
Documentary photographs of the ROCI project including press photos and United Nations announcement. 

View select digitized documentary photographs (PDF)


Newspaper and Magazine Clippings
Unsorted clippings dated 1984 -1991.

View clippings folder onefolder twofolder threefolder fourfolder fivefolder six (PDFs)


Press Kit
"Sample" press kit created by ROCI staff documenting the project.

View complete press kit (PDF)


Oral Histories
Oral history transcripts of individuals involved in ROCI.

View Thomas Buehler oral history (webpage)
View Donald Saff oral history (webpage) 


Raw and edited footage of Rauschenberg’s ROCI-related travels including several Travelogues.

View select digitized ROCI footage (vimeo)
password: rrfroci


Country-Specific Resources

ROCI Berlin research guide (webpage)

ROCI Chile research guide (webpage)

ROCI China research guide (webpage)

ROCI Cuba research guide (webpage)

ROCI Japan research guide (webpage)

ROCI Malaysia research guide (request)

ROCI Mexico research guide (webpage)

ROCI Tibet research guide (request)

ROCI USA research guide (webpage)

ROCI USSR research guide (request)

ROCI Venezuela research guide (webpage)


Other Materials (not digitized)
The majority of archival materials related to ROCI are not yet digitized and must be accessed onsite at the Foundation. Comprehensive information on these collections is found on the Archives Collections webpage. To find listings on related materials once on this page, scroll to the desired collection, download the finding aid PDF, and keyword search for "ROCI." Below is a list of recommended collections to search. Email archives for help or questions.

  • Audiovisual Collection
  • Charles Yoder records related to the Rauschenberg Studio
  • Chun-Wuei Su Chien papers
  • Donald Saff records on Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI)
  • Photograph Collection
  • Robert Rauschenberg papers
  • Ullens Oral History Project with Chinese Artists
A short statement written in pencil, with cross out marks and other visible edits, on a yellow, lined sheet of paper.

Robert Rauschenberg’s handwritten draft of a statement about Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI), 1982.