Robert Rauschenberg dies at 82


Robert Rauschenberg, »Solstice«, 1968

The New York Times
May 14, 2008
Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82
By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN

Robert Rauschenberg, the irrepressibly prolific American artist who time and again reshaped art in the 20th century, died Monday night. He was 82.

He died of heart failure, said Arne Glimcher, chairman of PaceWildenstein, the artist’s gallery in Manhattan.

Mr. Rauschenberg’s work gave new meaning to sculpture. “Canyon,” for instance, consisted of a stuffed bald eagle attached to a canvas. “Monogram” was a stuffed Angora goat girdled by a tire atop a painted panel. “Bed” entailed a quilt, sheet and pillow, slathered with paint, as if soaked in blood, framed on the wall. They all became icons of postwar modernism.

A painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and, in later years, even a composer, Mr. Rauschenberg defied the traditional idea that an artist stick to one medium or style. He pushed, prodded and sometimes reconceived all the mediums in which he worked.

Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life.

Mr. Rauschenberg was also instrumental in pushing American art onward from Abstract Expressionism, the dominant movement when he emerged during the early 1950s. He became a transformative link between artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and those who came next, artists identified with Pop, Conceptualism, Happenings, Process Art and other new kinds of art in which he played a signal role.

No American artist, Jasper Johns once said, invented more than Mr. Rauschenberg. Mr. Johns, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Mr. Rauschenberg, without sharing exactly the same point of view, collectively defined this new era of experimentation in American culture. Apropos of Mr. Rauschenberg, Cage once said, “Beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look.”

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The Sandwich Box

An introduction to Lars Vilhelmsen’s project The Sandwich Box

The Sandwich Box, having grown out of his earlier artworks, inscribes a new element onto Lars Vilhelmsen’s art practice. The following text explains its evolutionary process, beginning with Lars’ work, How Scandinavian Of Me, The Travellers Secret Box and Scandinavian-t-ransit, and arriving now to The Sandwich Box. There is also an explanation of how The Sandwich Box project will operate, what intentions and concerns will be searched out and examined, and how these will be incorporated into the project.

The Sandwich Box will be ongoing and continuous, and will involve a number of artists on a collaborative level. The resulting collaborative artworks and ongoing project documentation, will be evaluated and published on the www.thesandwichboxsite.org at each stage of the project.