Robert Rauschenberg


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Breaking Boundaries

Robert S. Mattison


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Robert Rauschenberg, one of the most prolific and influential artists of the postwar period, has created an astonishing variety of works during a career spanning more than fifty years. To illuminate the meaning of Rauschenberg’s art and the reasons behind his artistic choices, Robert Mattison in this book focuses closely on a small selection of the artist’s projects. Mattison offers an interpretation of Rauschenberg’s output that is both original and uniquely insightful, based on extensive research and first-hand observation of the artist at work in his studio.
Like Rauschenberg’s own work, the book ranges across a variety of disciplines. Mattison relates the artist’s output to the visual arts, politics, technology, dance, urban theory, and other intriguing contemporary issues. The book examines Rauschenberg’s working process, the effect of his dyslexia on his art, his seminal Combine paintings of the 1950s, fascination with the “space race,” and collaboration with well-known choreographer Trisha Brown. A final chapter explores the art Rauschenberg exhibited in Chile during the dangerous and repressive rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Robert S. Mattison is Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art History at Lafayette College.

“A tour de force and the definitive publication of the artists. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

“In Mattison’s beautifully illustrated book, he describes Rauschenberg, a contemporary of and close friend to Jasper Johns, as someone always on the cusp of new technology. Mattison discusses Rauschenberg’s art and its relation to contemporary issues including politics, technology, and the artist’s own dyslexia.”—Gina Vivinetto, St. Petersburg Times

“[A] highly accessible text and generous color illustrations.”—Artforum

"An exhaustive and enlightening analysis. . . . Mattison has produced a painstakingly impressive work."—Art Times
ISBN: 9780300099317
Publication Date: July 11, 2003
284 pages, 9 1/2 x 11
72 b/w + 32 color illus.