Robert Watts: REMEMBERING THE INVISIBLE MAN — The Fluxus/Pop Art Enigma of Doctor Bob

“Robert Watts’ path to becoming a prime mover of the Fluxus art movement was unconventional. After studying mechanical engineering at the University of Louisville, Watts was an officer in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard aircraft carriers. After leaving the Navy, Watts, a/k/a Bob Watts and Doctor Bob, moved to New York in 1948 and studied at the Art Students League and then Columbia University; at Columbia, Watts earned a History of Art degree, focusing on non-Western and pre-Columbian art. Watts subsequently became a member of artistic academia, as a professor of art at Rutgers University’s Douglass College.

In the decade after his establishment in academia, Watts began exhibiting his proto-pop art. After participating in several such gallery shows — notably 1960′s “New Forms, New Media” at the Martha Jackson Gallery, 1963′s “Popular Image” exhibition at the Washington Gallery of Art, and 1964′s “American Supermarket” exhibition at Bianchini Gallery — Watts decided to extract himself from the gallery system and become a part of the New York anti-art community, a community that was spearheaded by the vision of George Maciunas.

Watts’ work Black Eggs was shown in the “American Supermarket” exhibition and at the Leo Castell Gallery in 1964.

Of Watts, Castilli said: “[His] work obviously related to that of the Pop artists that I had discovered a few years before… Watts’ chromed objects closely related to Johns’ cast beer cans and flashlights, for instance. The 1964 exhibition also included Watts’ sculpture of plaster cast loaves of bread on shelves. That work, in particular, I think of as one of his most important inventions.”

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About Sónia Pina

Investigadora em Filosofia da Comunicação, New-media, Old-media, Ontologias digitais, Fluxus, Visualismo, Info-estética (protocolos visuais da comunicação), Intermedialidades na arte;

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