Robert Rauschenberg, one of the most prolific and influential artists of the postwar period, has created an astonishing variety of works during a career spanning more than fifty years. To illuminate the meaning of Rauschenberg’s art and the reasons behind his artistic choices, Robert Mattison in this book focuses closely on a small selection of the artist’s projects. Mattison offers an interpretation of Rauschenberg’s output that is both original and uniquely insightful, based on extensive research and first-hand observation of the artist at work in his studio.
Like Rauschenberg’s own work, the book ranges across a variety of disciplines. Mattison relates the artist’s output to the visual arts, politics, technology, dance, urban theory, and other intriguing contemporary issues. The book examines Rauschenberg’s working process, the effect of his dyslexia on his art, his seminal Combine paintings of the 1950s, fascination with the “space race,” and collaboration with well-known choreographer Trisha Brown. A final chapter explores the art Rauschenberg exhibited in Chile during the dangerous and repressive rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet.