Robert Rauschenberg's great work heads to China

Artist's installation, one of the longest works of art in the world, will go on show in Beijing next year

A 1,582ft-long installation by Robert Rauschenberg—one of the longest works of art in the world—is heading to China.  

The ¼ Mile or 2 Furlong Piece (1981–98) consists of 191 panels and sculptural elements. It is due to go on show at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing in June 2016, before the Rauschenberg retrospectives planned for Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art in 2016 and 2017.

The last show dedicated to the artist in China was in 1985, when he travelled there as part of the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange tour. Christy MacLear, the executive director of the Rauschenberg Foundation, says: “He [believed] that art was a better communicator across borders than politics, and went to countries including China, Cuba and Russia to work with local artists, and collect artefacts and images, to create art dedicated to those countries.”

Rauschenberg believed that “art was the ultimate peacekeeping currency—a language everyone understands regardless of orientation, religion, geographic residence or race”, MacLear says. She adds that if the massive work of art “couldn’t be held on the Great Wall of China, then UCCA was the next perfect place”.