Smith, Lawrence Beall
16 1/16 x 11 13/16 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
One of the most innovative American artists of the 20th century, Rauschenberg explored many techniques throughout his career. He became the bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art and a catalyst for the return of representation in American Art. His exploration of art and its interaction with modern icons of American life would prove to influence rising artists for years to come.
Rauschenberg studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, Black Mountain College under Josef Albers (where he also met John Cage), and in Paris with the help of the GI bill after World War II. His education led him to create art different from that of the Abstract Expressionism that dominated the avant-garde art scene of the 1950s. He created monochromatic paintings that were less focused on the action of painting and more on the essential nature of the surface of a work. He followed these works with a style that he called ‘combines,’ one in which he mixed techniques and materials creating paintings that were like collages but also often used three dimensional objects like Assemblage art. Some of these ‘combines’ are viewed as his best-known work, and they reintroduced referencing real objects in artwork.
Printmaking became a passion for Rauschenberg. He always had an interest in technology, and after developing a technique for transferring images from popular media to paper and canvas he became more interested in creating works that combined these contemporary images together into one work of art, giving them a different meaning in a combined composition. Many of these print projects like Support and Surface Series from Currents show the way he would combine popular culture images into a work of art with its own statement.