“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 Hughes


ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG
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 didn’t find enough to work with, I could take one other block and walk around it in any direction--but that was it.”

“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 art’s 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 Teacher’s Guide
Consultants: Lauren Marks and Kay Alexander


Take 5: Collage and Assemblage set contains images of work by Braque, Matisse, Rauschenberg, Baldesarri, and Nevelson.

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.


Rauschenberg’s Combines
“Rauschenberg’s 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 teacher’s 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 Rauschenberg’s Bed and the Symbolism of the Body”


REFERENCE BOOKS
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 Rauschenberg’s 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 teacher’s 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.

 
Robert Rauschenberg

Malaysian Flower Cave/ROCI MALAYSIA, 1990

Gift of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Shown here courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

http://www.nga.gov/cgi-
bin/pimage?71627+0+0