For the New York Times Robert Rauschenberg was ‘a Titan of American art’; for Guggenheim Director Thomas Krens the ‘Picasso of the second half of the 20th century’.
Rauschenberg made his name in 1953 by his apparently crazy action of erasing a drawing by his fellow artist Willem De Kooning, who at that time was far more widely celebrated. With the works he called ‘Combines’, which united trash from the streets of New York with painting in the Abstract Expressionist style, he introduced sculptural elements from the everyday world into art, preparing the way for Pop.
Director Chris Granlund visited this multi-faceted artist in his Florida studio in 1997, and the film also features friends and colleagues such as choreographer Merce Cunningham and art dealer Leo Castelli.
The series Art Lives, from Arthaus Musik, is a series of arresting documentaries about artists and art movements released for the first time on DVD in the English language.
Image: a detail from Raunschenberg’s combine Monogram, 1955-59.