Pop artist Robert Rauschenberg dies in Fla. at 82
Updated 43m ago

By Ann Johansson, AP
Artist Robert Rauschenberg, who was known for piecing together
everyday articles into works of art, died Monday in Florida. He was 82.

May 13, 2008


The Associated Press
USA TODAY

TAMPA (AP) — Robert Rauschenberg, whose use of odd and everyday articles earned him a reputation as a pioneer in pop art but whose talents spanned the worlds of painting, sculpture and dance, has died, his gallery representative said Tuesday. He was 82.

Rauschenberg died Monday, said Jennifer Joy, his representative at Pace Wildensteins.

Rauschenberg, who first gained fame in the 1950s, didn't mine popular culture wholesale as Andy Warhol did with Campbell's soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein did with comic books.

Instead, his "combines," incongruous combinations of three-dimensional objects and paint, shared pop's blurring of art and objects from modern life.

He also responded to his pop colleagues and began incorporating up-to-the-minute photographed images in his works in the 1960s, including, memorably, pictures of John F. Kennedy.
Not to be limited by paint, Rauschenberg was a sculptor and choreographer and even won a 1984 Grammy Award for best album package for the Talking Heads album "Speaking in Tongues."

"I'm curious," he said in 1997 in one of the few interviews he granted in later years. "It's very rewarding. I'm still discovering things every day."

Rauschenberg's more than 50 years in art produced a varied and prolific collection that that filled both Manhattan locations of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum during a 1998 retrospective.

Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes, in his book "American Visions," called Rauschenberg "a protean genius who showed America that all of life could be open to art. ... Rauschenberg didn't give a fig for consistency, or curating his reputation; his taste was always facile, omnivorous, and hit-or-miss, yet he had a bigness of soul and a richness of temperament that recalled Walt Whitman."

Rauschenberg split his time between New York and Captiva Island in Florida, where he kept a house stocked with his own art and those of his friends.
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