Robert Rauschenberg, possibly my favorite artist of the twentieth century (that’s a grand statement, but I have to say the last show I saw of his did make me feel just exactly that grand), passed away yesterday at age 82. Many obituaries have been coming in today, but I decided to show you the work and the words of the master.
What comes across in his work–a great deal which was created from found objects and trash on the street–is a joy in life and a sincere love of the beauty of ordinary things. “I feel as though the world is a friendly boy walking along in the sun,” he once said. Indeed, his vision and this charming perspective never ceases to amaze me. He helped do away with the self-absorbed pretention of the abstract expressionists, opening the door for far broadminded and expansive work. Rauschenberg refused to limit himself to a medium, instead using whatever he saw fit to make into art. He even delved into album art by designing the cover for Speaking in Tongues by the Talking Heads (which gives him only more kudos in the agingsnob book!)
To find out more about him, check out the episode of him on the American Masters Series on PBS if you are interested learning more about him as an artist.
“People ask me, “Don’t you ever run out of ideas?” In the first place I don’t use ideas. Every time I have an idea it’s too limiting, and usually turns out to be a disappointment. But I haven’t run out of curiosity.” -Robert Rauschenberg
“Bed” (an early Combine)
“Coca Cola Plan”
Set for Merce Cunningham (a frequent collaborator, along with John Cage)
Clip from Ovation-TV