Robert Rauschenberg was named Milton E. Rauschenberg when he was
born in 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas. He called himself Robert. Rauschenberg
grew up in a working-class family where he was taught fundamentalist
Christian values. He was drafted and joined the U.S. Navy when he
was 18. He worked as a medical and psychiatric aide during World
War II. Rauschenberg saw himself as a "repairman" of bodies and
minds, and he became a lifelong social activist. When he was released
from the Navy he briefly attended the Kansas City Art Institute
and Black Mountain College. In 1949, he moved to New York City to
study at the Art Students' League. He was influenced by many of
the Abstract Expressionists
during this time. Rauschenberg is a painter, printmaker, designer,
and experimental artist. He was part of the Beat
movement and has been called one of the pioneers of Pop Art.
Rauschenberg tried to create an "unbiased documentation" of
what he observed. He wanted people to interpret his work from their
own cultural perspectives. He was particularly influenced by Marcel
Duchamp. Duchamp is famous for taking a men's urinal, turning it
upside down, and entering it in an art exhibition under the title
Fountain. By declaring this art, he tried to shock people
into thinking about the big aesthetic question, "What is art?" Andy
Warhol also influenced Rauschenberg, introducing him to silk-screen
printing. Composer John Cage and painter Jasper Johns joined
Rauschenberg in encouraging people to question their own paradigms.
Rauschenberg is one of the most influential and important late
20th-century American artists. He is also an advocate for art and
In 1985, Rauschenberg launched the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture
Interchange (ROCI), a traveling exhibition dedicated to world peace.
The exhibition toured 22 countries and included 250 works-in-progress.
Rauschenberg added artworks created specifically for each place
as the exhibit traveled from culture to culture.
artwork that is not yet finished.
that rejects representation; has few recognizable images; emphasis
on line, color, shape, texture, value; expression of internal feelings
or emotions of the artist.
artists who struggled against conformity, mechanization, and materialism
of mainstream culture during the 1950s and 1960s.
particular way in which a person views the world, their reality.
color printing process in which ink or paint is forced through a
mesh screen onto the paper or canvas.
Return to the TOP of the page ]