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Robert Rauschenberg

Year of birth, place


Year of death, place


Role at the ZKM

  • Artist of the Collection


Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925. He studied (1947-48) at the Kansas City Art Institute and at the Académie Julian, Paris, and then (1948-49) at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, under Josef Albers. He lives on the island of Captiva, off the coast of Florida.

Rauschenberg's white, black and red pictures of the early 1950s are to be associated with his Abstract Expressionist phase. In 1953 he started to produce his »Combines« - assemblages in which he combined painting, photographs and various objects (for example, car tyres, a stuffed goat, his bed). In the early 1960s he started experimenting with lithographs and silk-screen printing. In his graphics and paintings images such as photographs reproduced in newspapers, or from his own collection, were directly juxtaposed, as is the case with the found objects incorporated within the »Combines«. Juxtaposition of various media and motifs subsequently became a characteristic feature of Rauschenberg's working method and his experimental approach. He did not limit his activity to the visual arts: in collaboration with John Cage and Merce Cunningham, he engaged in performance art, devised theatre pieces and dance pieces, designed sets and explored the scope for exploiting electronics as an artistic medium. 

​Individual exhibitions (selection)
1958 Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
1963 Ileana Sonnabend Galerie, Paris
1976 Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., subsequently at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo
1980 Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin, subsequently at Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek; Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt/M
1990 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
1991 »Rauschenberg: The early 1950s«, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., subsequently at The Menil Collection, Houston; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York; Pace/McGill Gallery, New York
1994 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
1995 Gagosian Gallery, New York
1997 »Robert Rauschenberg Anagrams«, Pace Wildenstein, Beverly Hills; »Robert Rauschenberg Haywire«, Aktionsforum Praterinsel, Munich
Group exhibitions (selection)
1959 documenta Il, Kassel
1964 Biennale di Venezia, Venice
1981 »Westkunst«, Musums of the City of Cologne
1991 »Hand-Painted-Pop - American Art in Transition 1955-1962«, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; »For 25 years Gemini G.E.L.«, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
1993 »Amerikanische Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, subsequently at Royal Academy of Arts, London
1995 »Klangskulpturen - Augenmusik, Grenzgänge zwischen Musik und Plastik im 20. Jahrhundert«, Museum Ludwig im Deutschherrenhaus, Koblenz
1996 »Collage«, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
1997 »Sound Objects«, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; »Inter Act«, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg; »Die Epoche der Moderne«, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin; »Deep Storage«, Haus der Kunst, Munich

​[David Richardt, 1997]  


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