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Artists Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg

American Collagist, Painter, and Graphic Artist

Movement: Neo-Dada

Born: October 22, 1925 - Port Arthur, Texas

Died: May 12, 2008 - Captiva Island, Florida

Quotes

"I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly because they're surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable."
Robert Rauschenberg
"I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop. At the time that I am bored or understand - I use those words interchangeably - another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I'm not one. I'd rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can't ignore."
Robert Rauschenberg

"Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made."

Synopsis

Considered by many to be one of the most influential American artists due to his radical blending of materials and methods, Robert Rauschenberg was a crucial figure in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to later modern movements. One of the key Neo-Dada movement artists, his experimental approach expanded the traditional boundaries of art, opening up avenues of exploration for future artists. Although Rauschenberg was the enfant terrible of the art world in the 1950s, he was deeply respected and admired by his predecessors. Despite this admiration, he disagreed with many of their convictions and literally erased their precedent to move forward into new aesthetic territory that reiterated the earlier Dada inquiry into the definition of art.

Key Ideas

Engaged in questioning the definition of a work of art and the role of the artist, Rauschenberg shifted from a conceptual outlook where the authentic mark of the brushstroke described the artist's inner world towards a reflection on the contemporary world, where an interaction with popular media and mass-produced goods reflected a unique artistic vision.
Rauschenberg merged the realms of kitsch and fine art, employing both traditional media and found objects within his "combines" by inserting appropriated photographs and urban detritus amidst standard wall paintings.
Rauschenberg believed that painting related to "both art and life. Neither can be made." Following from this belief, he created artworks that move between these realms in constant dialogue with the viewers and the surrounding world, as well as with art history.
Preferring to leave the interpretation of the works to his viewers, Rauschenberg allowed chance to determine the placement and combination of the different found images and objects in his artwork such that there were no predetermined arrangements or meanings embedded within the works.

Most Important Art

Bed (1955)
One of Rauschenberg's first "combines," Bed transcends the line between painting and sculpture through its Dadaist assemblage of traditional materials and the detritus of everyday life. Rauschenberg coined the term combine to describe a series of works from the 1950s and 1960s that literally combine the media of painting and sculpture within a single, three-dimensional art object. Apocryphal or not, the legend behind the combine states that one day Rauschenberg ran out of canvas and turned instead to his bed linens, first scribbling on the pillow, sheets, and quilt with pencil, then rapidly dripping and spilling paint on them. He then stretched the bed linens over a rectangular wooden support, in the place of a canvas, and attached the pillow and quilt in a way that made it appear as if the bed was made with only one corner un-tucked. He applied the paint in a loose, dripped, gestural fashion that calls to mind the authorial marks of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. However, the brushstroke in the combine was no longer a mark indicative of the artist's psyche, but an appropriated symbol designating a shift towards the external world within the avant-garde. The found objects present more of an accurate portrait of Rauschenberg than the dripped paint, as they were items that he owned and used in his daily life, rather than an aesthetic sign borrowed from a previous generation.
Oil and pencil on pillow, quilt, and sheet on wooden supports - The Museum of Modern Art, New York
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Biography

Childhood

Robert Rauschenberg was born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg in the small refinery town of Port Arthur, Texas. His father, Ernest, was a strict and serious man who worked for the Gulf State Utilities power company. His mother, Dora, was a devout Christian and a frugal woman. She made the family's clothes from scraps, a practice that embarrassed her son, but possibly influenced his later work with assemblages and collage. Rauschenberg drew frequently and copied images from comics, but his talent as a draughtsman went largely unappreciated, except by his younger sister Janet. Until he was 13, he planned to become a minister - a career of high standing in his conservative community. However, Rauschenberg discovered that his church called dancing a sin, and, as a skilled dancer himself, was dissuaded from a career in the ministry. He asked for and received a store-bought shirt for his high school graduation present, the very first in his young life.

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Early Training

Following his parents' wishes, Rauschenberg attended the University of Texas in Austin to study pharmacology, but was expelled in his freshman year after refusing to dissect a frog. The draft letter that arrived in 1943 saved him from breaking the news to his parents. Refusing to kill on the battlefield, he was assigned as a medical technician in the Navy Hospital Corps and stationed at a hospital caring for combat survivors in San Diego. While on leave, he saw oil paintings in person for the first time at the Huntington Art Gallery in California. After the war ended, Rauschenberg drifted, eventually using the G.I. Bill to pay for art classes at Kansas State University in 1947. On his arrival in Kansas City, he decided he would mark his new life with a new first name: Bob. The following year, the newly anointed Robert Rauschenberg traveled to Paris to study at the Academie Julian.

Robert Rauschenberg Biography

While in Paris, Rauschenberg met fellow American student Susan Weil, and the two became inseparable friends. He saved up enough money and followed her to Black Mountain College in North Carolina after reading about, and admiring, the discipline of its famed director, Josef Albers. Ironically, after Rauschenberg entered the college, Albers criticized his work frequently and harshly. Albers' course on materials, in which students investigated the line, texture, and color of everyday materials profoundly influenced Rauschenberg's later assemblages. Rauschenberg and Weil stayed at Black Mountain for the 1948 to 1949 school year and then moved to New York City, which Rauschenberg determined to be the center of the art world. They arrived as the Abstract Expressionist movement was just reaching maturity. In June 1950, Rauschenberg and Weil were married, and in August 1951 they had a son, Christopher.

In 1951 and 1952, Rauschenberg split his time between the The Art Students League in New York, where he studied with the instructors Morris Kantor and Vaclav Vytlacil during the academic year, and Black Mountain College, where he spent the summer. His ambition secured him a prestigious solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, exhibiting a series of White Paintings with scratched numbers and allegorical symbols (1953). Rauschenberg continued his paintings in white at Black Mountain College, where he rolled white house paint onto canvas with a roller. The flat white canvases were influenced by their surroundings, reflecting shadows of people and the time of day. He was also encouraged by the painter Jack Tworkov to explore black. His Black Paintings (1951), unlike the white series, were textured with thick paint and incorporated newspaper scraps. Also while at Black Mountain College, Rauschenberg met the minimalist composer John Cage and the choreographer Merce Cunningham, who both taught at the college and advocated the use of chance methods, found objects, and common, everyday experiences within high art. All of these ideas proved to be major influences on the young artist.

Early Mature Period

On Rauschenberg's return to New York from Black Mountain in fall 1952, Weil filed for divorce and brought Christopher to live with her parents. Rauschenberg left for Europe and North Africa to travel with Cy Twombly - a fellow student in the Art Students League and later an important Conceptual artist, with whom he was also romantically involved at the time. During his travels, Rauschenberg made his first assemblages from junk he collected in the Italian countryside. When he returned to the United States, he continued his experiments in paintings with the Red series in 1953, which featured varied surface textures like the Black series (1951), and also incorporated newsprint. Rauschenberg began to include objects in the surface of his paintings, from parasols to parts of a man's undershirt. Rauschenberg called these assemblages "combines," because they combined paint and objects (or sculpture) on the canvas.

Robert Rauschenberg Photo

Rauschenberg met the young painter Jasper Johns at a party in the winter of 1953 and after several months of friendship, the two became romantic and artistic partners. In 1955, Rauschenberg moved into the same building as Johns, and the two artists saw each other every day, exchanging ideas and encouraging their mutual exploration of the boundaries of art. Though their styles were initially too different to form a truly coherent movement, the intensity of their artistic partnership has been compared to the partnership between Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. As Rauschenberg said, he and Johns gave each other "permission to do what we wanted." The pair also developed a close friendship with Cage and Cunningham, who were also living in New York at the time. The four artists shared a similar philosophy, one that was labeled as the Neo-Dada style by later art historians. They rejected the coded psychology of Abstract Expressionist paintings and embraced the unplanned beauty in everyday life. Rauschenberg's close relationship with Johns did not last, however. Johns was featured on the cover of Art News in 1957 and The Museum of Modern Art bought three of his works. This explosion of fame caused tension between Johns and Rauschenberg, who eventually ended their relationship in 1961, although they began moving apart in the late 1950s with each artist frequently working in studios outside of New York City. Regardless, Rauschenberg remained a friend and collaborator to Cage and Cunningham.

Collaboration was a recurring theme in Rauschenberg's career. His interest in dance led to a ten-year partnership with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1954-64), as well as with choreographers Paul Taylor and Trisha Brown. He created costumes and sets for Cunningham's troupe while Cage composed the music. He also choreographed and planned his own "theater pieces" with fellow artists throughout the 1960s. Rauschenberg's interest in the promise of technology led him to co-found Experiments in Art and Technology(E.A.T.) in 1966 with Billy Kluver of Bell Laboratories, which encouraged collaboration between engineers and artists. Rauschenberg sought collaboration in other media as well: he began to create lithographs in 1962 with Tatyana Grosman, the printmaker and owner of Universal Limited Art Editions. He later collaborated with other printmaking studios, and in 1969, he bought a house on Captiva Island, which served as the home of Unlimited Press, a printmaking studio available to emerging and established artists.

Rauschenberg was himself rapidly becoming an established figure within the art world. He earned an early retrospective in 1963 at the Jewish Museum in New York, which was very well received by critics and viewers alike. His booming popularity in America was followed by an exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery in London, and then by an exhibition of his works at the Venice Biennale, which he visited while on tour with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. At the peak of his career, he was awarded the Biennale's first prize for painting in 1964, marking the first year this prize was awarded to an American.

Late Mature Period

Robert Rauschenberg Portrait

In keeping with his interest in current events and culture, Rauschenberg began to integrate images of space flight into his work in the 1960s. A Modern Inferno (1965), an image created for Life Magazine in celebration of Dante's seven-hundredth birthday, portrays Dante as an astronaut. In the series Stoned Moon (1969-70), Rauschenberg incorporated photographs from NASA's records in 33 lithographs. The 1970s also marked a return to assemblage as Rauschenberg embarked on the Spreads (1975-82) and Scales series (1977-81). He used techniques and imagery from his early works, combining silkscreen prints, magazine images, and everyday objects, but with more color and on a larger scale than in previous works. While several pieces in this series sold to collectors, critics were not impressed by what they perceived as a rehashing of old methods. Rauschenberg continued to work in a large scale in 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece (1981-98), a collaged painting that grew to be even longer than its title implied.

In 1984, Rauschenberg combined his interest in traveling with his belief that art could change society, founding the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (R.O.C.I.). He traveled primarily to developing nations and Communist countries, in defiance of then-current American Cold War policies, learning craft traditions from the host country's artists and artisans. Each of the twelve trips resulted in a major exhibition of Rauschenberg's works inspired by the host country. The culmination of the journey was an exhibition held at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. While Rauschenberg built ties with artists abroad, critics at home were unimpressed. Roberta Smith writing for the New York Times neatly summarized the project as "at once altruistic and self-aggrandizing, modest and overbearing."

Late Years and Death

In 1990, the Whitney Museum of American Art gave Rauschenberg a retrospective, accompanied by a smaller show at the Corcoran Gallery of his earlier work from the 1950s. The exhibitions cemented his status as one of the giants of the art world while emphasizing the importance of his early work in the development of modern American art. Rauschenberg won the Commandant de l'Ordre des Lettres from the French government in 1992, followed by the National Medal of the Arts in 1993. In 1996, the artist checked into the Betty Ford clinic to recover from alcoholism, which had grown more severe in his later years. He completed his rehabilitation program in time to celebrate the opening of his 1997-98 retrospective of 467 works at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a show that took six years to prepare.

Rauschenberg suffered a series of medical mishaps beginning in 2001, first breaking his hip, which led to an intestinal perforation and then a stroke in 2002 that paralyzed his right side. With the assistance of his caregiver and friend, Darryl Pottorf, Rauschenberg learned to work with his left hand. He worked until his death on May 12, 2008, from heart failure.

Legacy

Rauschenberg's work of the 1950s and 1960s influenced the young artists who developed later modern movements. Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein traced their inspiration for Pop art to Rauschenberg's collages of appropriated media images, and his experiments in silkscreen printing. The foundation for Conceptual art in large measure lies in Rauschenberg's Dada-based belief that the artist had the authority to determine the definition of art. The most fitting example is his 1961 portrait of Iris Clert, made for an exhibition at her gallery in Paris, which consisted of a telegram that stated: "This is a portrait of Iris Clert if I say so/ Robert Rauschenberg." Additionally, happenings and later performances of the 1960s trace their lineage to Rauschenberg's collaboration with John Cage at Black Mountain College in The Event (1952). The postmodern aesthetic of appropriation that influenced artists like Cindy Sherman and Sherrie Levine is also indebted to Rauschenberg's penchant for borrowing imagery from popular media and fine art. His penchant for bricolage influenced the choice of many later artists, even land artists and feminist artists, to utilize non-traditional artistic mediums in their work.

While critics agree that Rauschenberg's later works were not as influential as his earlier ones, his continued commercial success allowed him to support emerging artists. He co-founded Artists Rights Today to lobby for artists' royalties on re-sales of their work, after he observed the gains made by early collectors with the boom in the art market. In 1970, he co-founded Change, Inc., which helped struggling artists pay their medical bills. He became more politically active as he grew older, testifying on behalf of artists for the National Endowment of the Arts in the 1990s. His undying energy was at the root of his success as an artist and as a spokesman for artists, and clearly drove the far-reaching influence of his work well beyond his lifetime.

Influences and Connections

Influences on artist

Artists, Friends, Movements

Influenced by artist

Artists, Friends, Movements

Robert Rauschenberg
Interactive chart with Robert Rauschenberg's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Marcel Duchamp
Kurt Schwitters
Joseph Cornell
Clyfford Still

Friends

John Cage
Jasper Johns
Merce Cunningham
Cy Twombly

Movements

Dada
Abstract Expressionism
Surrealism
Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg
Years Worked: 1947 - 2008

Artists

Andy Warhol
Roy Lichtenstein
Allan Kaprow

Friends

Jasper Johns
Robert Hughes
Leo Steinberg
Leo Castelli

Movements

Happenings
Neo-Dada
Pop Art
Conceptual Art

Original content written by Julia Brucker

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

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Useful Resources on Robert Rauschenberg

Books
Websites
Articles
Audio
Videos
More
The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing this page. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet.
biography
Off the Wall: A Portrait of Robert Rauschenberg

By Calvin Tomkins

Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde

By Branden W. Joseph

Rauschenberg

By Mary Lynn Kotz

SFMOMA: Robert Rauschenberg Project

Research project by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

PBS American Masters - Teaching Lesson

Complete lesson plan for a class on Rauschenberg

Transmuting Forms, Click by Click

By Philip Gefter
The New York Times
October 17, 2013

Robert Rauschenberg, American Artist, Dies at 82

By Michael Kimmelman
The New York Times
May 14, 2008

Rauschenberg's Epic Vision

By John Richardson
Vanity Fair
September 1997

Art in Review

By Roberta Smith
The New York Times
February 10, 1995

Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
A tendency among New York painters of the late 1940s and '50s, all of whom were committed to an expressive art of profound emotion and universal themes. The movement embraced the gestural abstraction of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, and the color field painting of Mark Rothko and others. It blended elements of Surrealism and abstract art in an effort to create a new style fitted to the postwar mood of anxiety and trauma.
ArtStory: Abstract Expressionism
Neo-Dada
Neo-Dada
Neo-Dada
Neo-Dada refers to works of art from the 1950s that employ popular imagery and modern materials, often resulting in something absurd. Neo-Dada is both a continuation of the earlier Dada movement and an important precursor to Pop art. Some important Neo-Dada artists include Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Robert Morris and Allan Kaprow.
ArtStory: Neo-Dada
Dada
Dada
Dada
Dada was an artistic and literary movement that emerged in 1916. It arose in reaction to World War I, and the nationalism and rationalism that many thought had led to the War. Influenced by several avant-gardes - Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism, and Expressionism - its output was wildly diverse, ranging from performance art to poetry, photography, sculpture, painting and collage. Emerging first in Zurich, it spread to cities including Berlin, Hanover, Paris, New York and Cologne.
ArtStory: Dada
Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College
Black Mountain College was an experimental school founded in the middle of the twentieth century on the principles of balancing academics, arts, and manual labor within a democratic, communal society to create "complete" people.
ArtStory: Black Mountain College
Josef Albers
Josef Albers
Josef Albers
Josef Albers was a German-born American painter and teacher. Celebrated as a geometric abstractionist and influential instructor at Black Mountain College, Albers directly influenced such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly and Ray Johnson.
ArtStory: Josef Albers
Art Students League of New York
Art Students League of New York
Art Students League of New York
The League is an artist-founded institution that arose in the post-Civil War years, when many art students became dissatisfied with the lack of quality instruction in the basics of portraiture, sculpture and composition offered by New York art schools. During the Depression years, many young artists who would eventually define the Abstract Expressionist movement spent their formative years studying and teaching at the League.
ArtStory: Art Students League of New York
Jack Tworkov
Jack Tworkov
Jack Tworkov
Jack Tworkov was a Polish-born American painter. Part of the first generation of Abstract Expressionism, he worked in a variety of styles including geometric arrangements, gestural sweeps, and the thin "flame-like" marks that became emblematic of his work.
Jack Tworkov
John Cage
John Cage
John Cage
John Cage was an American composer and conceptual artist who incorporated chance, silence, and environmental effects into his performances. An important art theorist, he influenced choreographers, musicians, and the Fluxus artists of the 1970s.
ArtStory: John Cage
Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham
Merce Cunningham was an American choreographer and dance instructor. He taught at Black Mountain College for several years, playing an important role in the school's interdisciplinary approach to art instruction. He founded the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York, and is considered one of the founders of modern dance.
Merce Cunningham
Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly is an American artist whose large-scale paintings incorporate writing, scrawls, and graffiti on their surfaces. He combines the gestural quality of Abstract Expressionism with a contemporary interest in language and registers of meaning.
ArtStory: Cy Twombly
Conceptual Art
Conceptual Art
Conceptual Art
Conceptual art describes an influential movement that first emerged in the mid-1960s and prized ideas over the formal or visual components of traditional works of art. The artists often challenged old concepts such as beauty and quality; they also questioned the conventional means by which the public consumed art; and they rejected the conventional art object in favor of diverse mediums, ranging from maps and diagrams to texts and videos.
ArtStory: Conceptual Art
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns is an American artist who rose to prominence in the late 1950s for his multi-media constructions, dubbed by critics as Neo-Dada. Johns' work, including his world-famous targets and American flags series, were important predecessors to Pop art.
ArtStory: Jasper Johns
Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Georges Braque was a modern French painter who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed analytic Cubism and Cubist collage in the early twentieth century.
ArtStory: Georges Braque
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Picasso dominated European painting in the first half of the last century, and remains perhaps the century's most important, prolifically inventive, and versatile artist. Alongside Georges Braque, he pioneered Cubism. He also made significant contributions to Surrealist painting and media such as collage, welded sculpture, and ceramics.
ArtStory: Pablo Picasso
Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum has become the home for some of the greatest works of avant-garde painting, sculpture, film and multi-media art in the world. While MoMA remains true to its roots as a place where new styles of art can circulate, its permanent collection is widely considered the most impressive and diverse assortment of Modern art to ever exist, ranging from late-nineteenth-century van Goghs, Monets and Gauguins to works produced in the present day.
ArtStory: Museum of Modern Art
Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol was an American Pop artist best known for his prints and paintings of consumer goods, celebrities, and photographed disasters. One of the most famous and influential artists of the 1960s, he pioneered compositions and techniques that emphasized repetition and the mechanization of art.
ArtStory: Andy Warhol
Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein
Roy Lichtenstein was an American painter and a pioneer of the Pop art movement. His signature reproductions of comic book imagery eventually redefined how the art world viewed high vs. lowbrow art. Lichtenstein employed a unique form of painting called the Benday dot technique, in which small, closely-knit dots of paint were applied to form a much larger image.
ArtStory: Roy Lichtenstein
Happenings
Happenings
Happenings
The term "happening" was coined by artist Allan Kaprow in 1957 to decribe a series of multi-media artworks on display in a single locale. In general, a happening is an art event, often staged or pre-scripted, that requires active participation from an audience to come to full fruition. This relatively new form of artistic media could be called participatory.
ArtStory: Happenings
Postmodern Art
Postmodern Art
Postmodern Art
Postmodern art is a general term applied to artistic genres that are believed to have followed modern art forms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Mired heavily in critical theory and academia, postmodern art forms include such disciplines as Conceptual art, Installation, Land art, Sound and Video art, and Process art.
ArtStory: Postmodern Art
Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits. Sherman has raised challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media and the nature of the creation of art.
ArtStory: Cindy Sherman
Sherrie Levine
Sherrie Levine
Sherrie Levine
Sherrie Levine is an American photographer, appropriation artist, and seminal figure of the Pictures Generation. The subject of much controversy in the 1980s, Levine is best known for her rephotographs of work by Edward Weston, Vincent van Gogh, and Paul Cezanne.
Sherrie Levine
Land Art
Land Art
Land Art
Land art, or Earth art, a term coined by artist Robert Smithson, refers to artworks from the 1960s and '70s that employed land and other natural elements. It is typical of a time when artists rejected the traditional art object, expanded definitions of sculpture, and sought to move art outside the conventional art world structure of galleries and museums.
ArtStory: Land Art
Feminist Art
Feminist Art
Feminist Art
Feminist art emerged in the 1960s and '70s to explore questions of sex, power, the body, and the ways in which gender categories structure how we see and understand the world. Developing at the same time as many new media strategies, feminist art frequently involves text, installation, and performance elements.
ArtStory: Feminist Art
Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp
The French artist Marcel Duchamp was an instrumental figure in the avant-garde art worlds of Paris and New York. Moving through Dada, Surrealism, readymades, sculpture, and installation, his work involves conceptual play and an implicit attack on bourgeois art sensibilities.
ArtStory: Marcel Duchamp
Kurt Schwitters
Kurt Schwitters
Kurt Schwitters
Kurt Schwitters was a German multi-media artist who was particularly influential in the development of the Dada and Constructivist movements. By the 1920s, Schwitters was heavily involved in the international avant-garde, touring the world with artists like Hans Arp and Tristan Tzara. These travels earned him wide acclaim in the U.S. and scrutiny in his native Germany, which would soon come under the control of the Third Reich.
Kurt Schwitters
Joseph Cornell
Joseph Cornell
Joseph Cornell
Joseph Cornell was an American artist, best known for his collage work and "shadow boxes," which were highly complex diorama-like constructions. Cornell incorporated found objects, old photos, newspaper clippings and other objects into these boxes, resulting in uniquely surreal, three-dimensional worlds. Cornell was one of the few American artists associated with Surrealism.
ArtStory: Joseph Cornell
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still
Clyfford Still was a leading first-generation Abstract Expressionist. His mature works are large-scale paintings with gaping chasms and stains of jagged color, often in dark earth tones.
ArtStory: Clyfford Still
Surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism
Perhaps the most influential avant-garde movement of the century, Surrealism was founded in Paris in 1924 by a small group of writers and artists who sought to channel the unconscious as a means to unlock the power of the imagination. Much influenced by Freud, they believed that the conscious mind repressed the power of the imagination. Influenced also by Marx, they hoped that the psyche had the power to reveal the contradictions in the everyday world and spur on revolution.
ArtStory: Surrealism
Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow was an American painter, collagist, assemblagist and performance artist. Kaprow was best known for trailblazing the artistic concept "happenings," which were experiential artistic events rather than single works of art.
ArtStory: Allan Kaprow
Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes
The famous critic Robert Hughes has admittedly struggled with living in a new world where there is no longer a definitive hotbed of artists living in one city, making one great thing after another. Hughes' views on modern art are fairly traditional, valuing formal training over instinctual gift, and he can be highly critical of art that is ostentatious or seems to cater to the art market.
ArtStory: Robert Hughes
Leo Steinberg
Leo Steinberg
Leo Steinberg
Leo Steinberg is one the twentieth century's foremost historians and scholars on the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo and other Italian Renaissance artists. In addition to his scholarly work on Renaissance art, Steinberg is also a significant authority on twentieth-century modern art, including the paintings and sculptures of Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns's Flag series, and Willem de Kooning's Woman series.
ArtStory: Leo Steinberg
Leo Castelli
Leo Castelli
Leo Castelli
Leo Castelli was an American art collector and gallery owner. His Castelli Gallery in New York, which opened in 1957, held several groundbreaking shows that revealed to the art world works by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Castelli's gallery was considered an early proving ground for Neo-Dada, Pop, and Minimalist art.
ArtStory: Leo Castelli
Pop Art
Pop Art
Pop Art
British artists of the 1950s were the first to make popular culture the dominant subject of their art, and this idea became an international phenomenon in the 1960s. But the Pop art movement is most associated with New York, and artists such as Andy Warhol, who broke with the private concerns of the Abstract Expressionists, and turned to themes which touched on public life and mass society.
ArtStory: Pop Art