During the fifties artists realized
there might be a subject in this landscape of waste, this
secret language of junk, because societies reveal themselves in
what they throw away. Street junk. Rauschenberg was one of
them. He never worked for long in one style. To him is owed much
of the basic cultural assumption that a work of art can exist for
any length of time, in any material, anywhere, for any purpose and
any destination it chooses from the museum to the trash can.
from The Shock of the New by
Robert Rauschenberg set the precedent for contemporary art as we
know it today. He is said to have been the only living artist since
Picasso who has worked in such broad a spectrum of media and styles.
In 1952, Rauschenberg lived in New York. There he began to collect
commonplace objects found on the streets and attach them to his
paintings. He was concerned that people might consider them sculptures
that had been painted on and others might consider them paintings
with sculptures attached. Not wanting these works to be referred
to as either paintings or sculptures, he called them combines.
They have been referred to as combines or combine
paintings by critics ever since.
I actually had a kind of house rule. If I walked completely
around the block and didnt find enough to work with, I could
take one other block and walk around it in any direction--but that
In whatever medium he chooses, Rauschenberg takes delight
in the materials themselves, trying to summon artistic meanings
and new references from them. My work is not about wanting
to change your mind, he says. Not for the arts
sake, not for the sake of the individual piece, but for the sake
of the mutual coexistence of the entire environment.
from Take 5: Collage
and Assemblage Teachers Guide
Consultants: Lauren Marks and Kay Alexander
Take 5: Collage and Assemblage
set contains images of work by Braque, Matisse, Rauschenberg, Baldesarri,
Take 5 is a series of fine art reproductions
in sets of five, grouped around a particular theme. For a complete
listing of the Take 5 prints available from Crystal Productions,
call 1-800-255-8629 and ask for a free color catalog.
Rauschenbergs combine paintings are unlike traditional
collage in which the elements placed in them are not as important
as the overall design. Instead he stresses the random aspects of
ordinary of life by placing seemingly random objects from the urban
environment into his paintings. He focuses on the object, which
to the spectator is often too ordinary and illogical to be considered
art, and asks us not what we are looking at, but how we are looking.
from Take 5 Art Prints Collage
and Assemblage teachers guide
All material has history. All material
has its own history built into it....An artist manufactures his
materials out of his own existence.
from James Leggio in Robert Rauschenbergs
Bed and the Symbolism of the Body
Arnason, H.H. History of Modern
Art Painting Sculpture Architecture Photography, Third Edition.
New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1986.
Hughes, Robert. The Shock of the
New , Second Edition. United States: Random House, 1991
Leggio, James. Robert Rauschenbergs Bed and the Symbolism
of the Body, in Studies of
Modern Art 2: Essays on Assemblage, ed. John Elderfield (New
York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1992),p. 79.
Marks, Lauren and Kay Alexander, consultants:. Take 5 Art Prints:
Collage and Assemblage teachers
guide. Glenview: Crystal Productions, 1992.
Take 5 is a series of fine art prints in sets of five reproductions
grouped around a particular theme. For a complete listing of the
Take 5 prints available from Crystal Productions, call 1-800-255-8629
and ask for a free color catalog.
Steinberg, Leo. Encounters with
Rauschenberg, Chicago:University of Chicago Press, 2000.