Rauschenberg invented a new art form he called "combines," mixed-media hybrids that combine characteristics of painting and sculpture. Rauschenberg is extraordinarily inclusive about materials. Anything is fair game, including traditional media like paint and canvas, but also things found outside the usual art context. He affixed bits of fabric, wood, unidentified machinery parts, prints of other artists' work, shirt cuffs, and commercial sign fragments. In the middle, a ladder links the left and right flanks. The wall on which the combine rests is completely visible in this part since there's no backing, and the legs of the ladder rest on the floor. Rauschenberg always invites us to see things differently. Normally, ladders connect vertically, but this ladder bridges space horizontally instead.
Rauschenberg included recognizable imagery and real things, yet there's no narrative, no explicit subject. Meaning is fluid, and we, as viewers, have a major role: to formulate our insights.
Have students make their own "combine" by integrating different art forms.
Stella Paul, museum educator in charge of Exhibitions and Communication, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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|Title Annotation:||GalleryCard: Interpretation; Robert Rauschenberg|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2007|
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