Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Houston
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
Signs, a serigraph print by Robert Rauschenberg aptly illustrates critic Lawrence Alloway’s definition of Pop Art as “an art about signs and sign systems” from the popular culture. The image is a collage composition of widely circulated photographs of celebrated national figures and news events from the decade of the 1960s. When the artist assembled this material in 1970 it was common property – imagery holding an established place in public consciousness and layered with myth and emotion. Rauschenberg selected, cut, and positioned these pre-established “signs” in order, so he declared, “ . . . to remind us of love, terror, violence of the last ten years.”
Signs exemplifies the Pop artist’s appropriation of the omnipotent manipulative power of mass media imagery. Rauschenberg both distanced and romanticized the wrenching experiences of a generation by presenting readymade icons of Youth, War, Adventure, and Martyrdom in the glamorous packaging of a commercial medium.