"It used to be thought that growing up in America was a serious handicap for an artist." [Tomkins 13] The reason behind that being art has always been pushed aside in America, never truly taken seriously; which at points today is still held to be just as true. This was not the case for all artists though, one of their names was Robert Rauschenberg. Robert Rauschenberg was born on October 22, 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas. Incidentally, that is not his original name. Rauschenberg's original first name was Milton, however, he did not care for it and thought that Rauschenberg was bad enough to be stuck with. So, he changed his name to Bob, which was a more common name. He later saw that Robert was just as acceptable and common as Bob. Rauschenberg was a recognizable talent from the start, however, he did not think much of it. For a while during his childhood, Rauschenberg didn't even realize that there was such a thing as being an artist. As much as his sister Janet loved all of his work, Rauschenberg "assumed anyone could draw." [Tomkins 14] That seems to be the key to being able to tell a great artist early on, he/she will think nothing of his/her work, yet he/she clearly has talent. Off the Wall shows his work when he was younger, and you can definitely see an artist in the making. Whether Rauschenberg himself believed it or not isn't important, because he had greatness within him. Fast-forwarding a few years, Rauschenberg's talent would get him into one of the more prestigious art schools, named Black Mountain College. It "never had more than ninety students, and there were times when the enrollment lipped below twelve. In the twenty-three years of it precarious existence, though, from 1933 to 1956, this tiny enclave in the mountains of North Carolina became a sort of testing ground for ideas and attitudes that would help to shape the cultural climate of the nineteen sixties." [Tomkins 27] Many famous artists attended the college, such as John Cage, Willem de Kooning, and Paul Goodman to name a few. Then there was Rauschenberg, who was quite different than the rest, he would actually want his professors to be critical of him. Rauschenberg wanted blunt feedback, and he was willing to do whatever the professor asked of him; this is not such an odd request considering that the professors' feedback would help mold him into a better artist. Of course, the professors didn't believe Rauschenberg had really come for their discipline, as he had been in Paris not too long ago. That trip to Paris brought more than experience though, it brought along an assumption from professors that Rauschenberg would be arrogant. Of course, this was not the case and Rauschenberg progressed over the years working with his professors, and his own talent, molding himself into a better artist. Which is why Black Mountain was just the beginning of Rauschenberg's career as an artist. He would go on to make a great deal of progress for not only himself, but also future artists, which is why we are now discussing all of his works. Though his artistic style changes every so often, his belief in pushing forward is still the same as it was when he was younger. It was his talent, and his belief in progression that brought him to create his work entitled "Reservoir". The painting "Reservoir" was created by Robert Rauschenberg in 1961. It was an artistic work from Rauschenberg's "Combines" collection. The "Combines" series pushed Abstract Expressionism to new places. Created in the 1950's, Rauschenberg created his "Combines" using many different elements. The artworks used a combination of painting, sculpture, photography and everyday objects. Rauschenberg's art focused more on the subject of the work rather than simply using a color to express an emotion like that of the Abstract Expressionists. Although criticized by fellow artists and critics, Rauschenberg continued to push the envelope in creating his art. His way of thinking allowed him to push his...
Cited: Fineberg, Jonathan. Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being.
Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. ©2000
Mattison, Robert S. Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries.
Yale University Press. New Haven and London. ©2003
Tomkins, Calvin. Off the Wall.
Penguin Books. New York, New York. ©1980
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