Friday, May 16, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg, 1925-2008

It's worth noting that this week we lost this pioneer in the art world, who bridged the gap between the Abstract Expressionists of the post-war era and the more postmodern realm of Pop Art and conceptual art in the 1950s and '60s. He's probably best-known for his 'combines', which followed on the lead of the Dada artists of the 1920s in bringing together painting, sculpture, and found items in a mental framework that broke down traditional barriers between art and life.

I personally don't care much for a lot of contemporary art, which usually seems more based on rehashing stuff learned in art history classes and finding new ways to make money through faux 'shocks' than actually creating works of shared emotion. That said, Rauschenberg's works were genuinely pioneering in an era when American art was fairly homogenous, and bold in a time when boldness was less of a commodity than it is today.