Copperheads (1985/1989)

In 1984, during research for the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange project exhibition ROCI CHILE, Rauschenberg traveled to Chile where he visited a copper mine and foundry and learned from artist Benito Rojo about the potential of tarnishing agents on copper. Rauschenberg then created a series of paintings using copper supports for silkscreened photographs and tarnishing agents. While the fourteen Copperheads made in 1985 are part of the larger series ROCI CHILE, this is the first of fifteen series of paintings on metal that Rauschenberg made between 1985 and 1996.