Rauschenberg & Johns:

Significant Others

A publishing solution and renewable digital resource that sheds new light on the work of two of the most significant artists of the twentieth century.

The Rauschenberg & Johns: significant others digital publication is an expansion of the design solution we developed for the National Gallery of Australia’s Ceremony exhibition, both refining the format and introducing an innovative interactive ‘scrollytelling’ essay, a forensic interpretation of the artwork Booster.

Through close collaboration and a deep understanding of the National Gallery's objectives, we crafted a digital publication that not only presented art in a captivating way but also fostered a deeper connection between the institution and its audience.
John-Paul Marin
Distil Immersive
The Format

We refined our existing publishing platform to include new graphic treatments that celebrate the artists’ work and UX conveniences, such as individually deep-linkable paragraphs, useful for researchers and students alike.

This groundbreaking project marks a significant milestone as it is the first entirely digital publication to accompany a Tyler Collection exhibition. Our digital publishing platform allows the NGA to democratise new research about these iconic artists, allowing the Gallery to reveal new insights into their art, relationships, and processes. It lays the groundwork for the Gallery’s new approach to publishing, with the ability to rapidly deploy a project with the premium visual quality of a fine-art book.

At the height of the Abstract expressionist movement—a new avant-garde began to materialise from the same-sex relationship between two young artists—Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. During the homophobic 1950s, from their run-down New York studios, Rauschenberg and Johns began a private creative dialogue, collapsing the distinction between art and life.
David Greenhalgh
National Gallery of Australia
Creative Technology

An interactive perspective

The publication’s centrepiece is an interactive essay investigating Robert Rauschenberg’s print work Booster, using creative web technologies to enhance engagement and the audience’s comprehension of his masterpiece. Deploying our custom CSS-based 3D ‘scrollytelling’ engine, the essay zooms and pans over the surface of Booster, accompanying curator David Greenhalgh’s analysis. The work is made of numerous print transfers from newspapers and advertising from the 1960s. This original source material is drawn out of the art and superimposed in place. The entire 8K scan of Booster rotates and transforms as the user scrolls the page, emphasising ideas that are impossible in traditional formats.

The result is a highly engaging digital publication that makes the Gallery’s collection more accessible, reaching a broader and more diverse audience with an approach honouring traditional publishing and a view towards new storytelling techniques.

  • National Gallery of Australia
    • Keir Winesmith – Head of Digital
    • David Greenhalgh – Curator
    • Brittany Burgess – Digital Coordinator
  • User Experience
  • Graphic Design
  • Frontend Development
  • DevOps
  • The Interaction Consortium
    • Backend Development
  • Studio Ontorago
    • Identity Design
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