If you’re just discovering the world of Robert Rauschenberg and his work, it may be difficult to know where to begin. After all, he led a big, productive, and highly influential life. Here are four resources that will get you started:
1. The New York Times obituary. A bit morbid? In fact it’s an excellent summation of his life that mentions some of his most important works and includes several great quotations, like this one –
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.
2. Jonathan Jones, writing for the Guardian UK, posted a short but deep examination when a recent exhibition, featuring the work of Rauschenberg – along with Cage, Cunningham, Duchamp, and Jasper Johns – opened at the Barbican. Jones included one of my favorite Cage/Rauschenberg stories.
In 1953 Cage drove his car with a tyre Rauschenberg had soaked in paint along 20 joined sheets of paper on a New York street to create Automobile Tyre Print.
3. For a look at Rauschenberg’s work in the 70s, check out this essay from the National Gallery of Australia: http://nga.gov.au/Rauschenberg/. It also includes a slideshow of many of the relevant (and less often seen) works.
4. Finally, for a view both broad and deep, visit the Museum of Modern Art’s website (http://avlt.co/moma-rausch) where you can read their five part biography, and, best of all, view more than 100 (it may be 200, I stopped counting) of Rauschenberg’s works that are part of their collection.