Rauschenberg & the Texture of Ideas

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled Mixed Media Collage, 1955

I like "idea art" a lot, but I like it best when it has texture, some of that sensual quality of painting. Robert Rauschenberg (1925 - 2008) is known for neo-Dada stunts like erasing a DeKooning drawing and creating what I think is the first all-white painting, sort of a counterpart to John Cage's silent composition, 4'33". Rauschenberg is also identified as a pop artist, but that's way too simple. What he was, was someone who worked in between all genres in a fun and provocative manner. I tend to like the "in-between" artists and musicians more than others, in that they can merge the best of all worlds. Though the paint in Rauschenberg's work looks "back" to abstract expressionism, I wouldn't like his work nearly as much without that element. I should mention that his works tend to be big, and the texture is a lot more evident at that scale in person than what can be discerned here. If you are on a device you can manually enlarge the screen and see a lot more detail.

A great essay on Rauschenberg resides here.


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