Many of the materials for Mr. Rauschenberg’s found-object wizardry came directly from the sidewalks, gutters and trash bins of New York. Most of the images he used were lifted from its magazines and newspapers and mirrored the look and pulse of urban life.
Transfer of offset lithographed and newspaper images, collage of paper bags and fabric. China silk and silk chiffon.
Robert Rauschenberg thinks that anything—cardboard, tires, light bulbs, photographs, old clothes, even dirt—can be used to make art.
If people can paint on canvas, why can't they paint on the canvas of an old sneaker? he wondered. And do they have to use paint at all? He was curious about this, and so he began experimenting with different materials, to see how they would work.
Many people have noticed the joy and energy in Rauschenberg's artwork. He says it comes from this kind of curiosity. He is curious about everything!
oil, wood, graphite, fabric, metal, and rubber on canvas
In Reservoir a length of wood, two clocks, and a couple of cast-off wheels reach out from the painted surface into the viewer's space. But these elements do not add up to a single meaning. Instead, they convey both the randomness and order that Rauschenberg saw in everyday life. The arrangement of objects and thick, splashy brushstrokes represent his split-second decisions, and the two clocks precisely record when he started the work and the moment he considered it finished. The rebelliousness of the beats led to the pop art of the 1960s, and for decades thereafter, Rauschenberg made light of himself as "Poppa Pop."
He is curious about what other artists are doing. He often works with friends who are artists and writers.
He is curious about technology. Rauschenberg was especially excited about new methods of printing and photography—even X-rays. He asked master craftsmen to help him use these technologies in his artwork.
He is curious about the world. Rauschenberg likes to put things he finds—like clocks and wheels—in his paintings. "I think a painting is more like the real world if it's made out of the real world," he said.