The early 1950s, when Robert Rauschenberg launched his career, was the heyday of the heroic gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism. Rauschenberg challenged this tradition, inventing new interdisciplinary models of artistic practice that shaped the decades to come. Published in conjunction with this century's first retrospective of this defining figure in postwar art, this richly illustrated catalog reframes Rauschenberg’s widely celebrated Combines (1954–64) and silkscreen paintings (1962–64) in fresh ways. It also illuminates lesser-known periods within Rauschenberg’s career, including his work of the early 1950s and that from the late 1960s onward, now compelling and prescient to contemporary eyes.
Sixteen short essays by eminent scholars and emerging new writers focus on specific moments throughout Rauschenberg’s career, exploring his creative production across an extraordinary range of media and following him on his travels around the globe. Integrating new scholarship, documentary imagery, and archival materials, Robert Rauschenberg is the first comprehensive catalog of the artist’s career in 20 years, an important contribution to American cultural and intellectual history and a necessary volume for anyone interested in contemporary art.