When Robert Rauschenberg's fabled Canyon resided in the hands of the heirs of the midcentury dealer Ileana Sonnabend, the estimated $65 million combine—in which the magpie artist incorporated a shirt, photographs, and other trinkets on canvas behind a soaring bald eagle with an ample streak of white paint along its beak—was a double-edged prize. Considered one of Rauschenberg's crowning achievements and an icon of American art, the piece could not be sold because of its inclusion of the federally protected bird, and the government additionally sought to penalize the owners with estate fees and tariffs totaling a sky-high $40.9 million. Now, the illegal eagle has been donated to MoMA, freeing the bird (and its former owners) of that weighty bill.
To celebrate the welcoming of Canyon to the museum's permanent, MoMA assembled a show dedicated to the collection of Sonnabend, the onetime wife and partner of Leo Castelli who opened her own indispensable gallery in 1962. This week, we swung by the show's opening, as well as the Marepe show at Anton Kern, Isaac Julien at Metro Pictures, Reinhard Mucha at Luhring Augustine, an evening of poetry at the Hole, and other art events.
To see photos from the week's art events, click the slide show above.