Robert Rauschenberg
Birth Date: October 22, 1925
Death Date: May 12, 2008
Artist Gallery
Milton Ernest Rauschenberg became known as Robert and helped redefine American art in the 1950s and 1960s. Rauschenberg was studying to be a pharmacist when he was drafted into the Navy where he discovered an aptitude for drawing. As a forerunner to the Pop Art movement, he would combine painting with found objects or found images (photographs, magazine images, transfer prints). Using this method, he could make a commentary about our contemporary society by using the images that helped create this society. That is how strong his connection to reality is. After photographing, pasting up and painting, he reprints his images on silkscreen, pressing home the point about our depersonalized culture. Rauschenberg’s interest in outside life has to do with popular culture and consumerism – advertising, television. His desire is to broaden the concept of what art actually is – an idea he first gleaned from composer John Cage, who used everyday sounds in his music. Rauschenberg may have also gotten his desire to put everyday objects in his work from his boyhood. “Sometimes I think that the very use of nearly everything I can get a hold of might have some connection with thrift and austerity that I grew up with”. In 1968 he was invited by NASA to watch the Apollo 11 liftoff at the Kennedy Space Center and to use this theme in his work. He experimented with prints, using unusual material such as aluminum, moving Plexiglas discs, and clothes. He co-founded Experiments in Art and Technology, an organization to promote collaborations between artists and engineers. In the 1970s, he setup a foundation for destitute artists and a house with art studios in Florida. Rauschenberg’s often repeated quote is that he wanted to work “in the gap between art and life”.