The Red Bean Grows in the South is a group exhibition centered on concepts of dreams and longing, featuring major large-scale and experiential works.
Many of the works are from the Foundation’s collection and are by a diverse array of international artists. The works span a variety of media and explore conceptual themes such as violence, war, politics, idealism, and escapism, as well as hope, dreams, desire, lust, and longing. The idea of longing, in particular, is manifest throughout the exhibition in different ways, be it a sense of longing for someone (as in a loved one) or for something (as in a better future). The works resonate strongly as individual pieces, but also take on new meaning when placed in dialogue with one another.
The exhibition’s title references the first verse of a Chinese Tang Dynasty poem, Red Bean, which is known to express deep longing. While the scope of the exhibition is broadly international, the curatorial conceit for the Foundation’s first New York show reflects a core tenet of the Foundation’s identity—its longstanding relationship with China, and its desire to engage Western audiences with important concepts, themes, and works from the region.
I want to use the thread of time to paint and document a person from birth to growing into an adult individual and use images, pictures, news, photographs to document this country's vicissitude. Between these two parallels they both blend into one another, they both create a kind of dialogue.
I think my work is to some degree is pointing a finger at a side or an underbelly of society, the violence of society, the injustice of society. The absurdity, most importantly the absurdity of the human condition. What we've created and how we see ourselves is so absurd that I've always felt we don't even know we're alive.
One can say "there's no such thing as a typical Rauschenberg" because there are such varied things but the more you know of the work and investigate it. The more you see there are these overriding concerns and themes that Bob attended to.
David White from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
You cannot catch a dream that's why you need art.