His Most Famous Assemblage (Canyon) – Robert Rauschenberg

Born into a family of Fundamentalist Christians on October 22, 1925, Milton Ernst Rauschenberg or Robert Rauschenberg was one of America’s most prolific and significant artists. He got his art training from the Kansas City Art Institute and at New York’s Art Students League. Robert Rauschenberg hands worked at various creative mediums and styles, such as photography, printmaking, papermaking, performance, and dance. He gained fame in the 1950s for his atypical transition of ‘Abstract Expressionism’ to ‘Pop Art.’ Robert Rauschenberg is well known for his “Combines,” especially “Canyon,” an innovative and somewhat chaotic compilation of painting and sculpture, using eclectic everyday provisions and items.

Robert Rauschenberg’s “Canyon” (1959), a mural ‘Combine,’ is an assemblage of buttons, photographs, a stuffed bald eagle, carrying a rope attached to a pillow that is perched from the main panel and tied to a string. The 87″ x 70″ x 24″ mural is promptly pulled down to the ground with an assured gentle landing. “Canyon” is a soft insinuation towards Rembrandt’s ‘The Rape of Ganymede’ (1635). To maintain a relentless rapport amongst the pictorial subjects in “Canyon,” Rauschenberg delved greatly to bring out new items such as, sheet metal and enamel on wood. The artist once said, “I think a painting is more like the real world if it’s made out of the real world.”

Art that was appealing and interesting, created out of the banal, formed the core & the emphasis of Robert’s creation over beauty, a fact well corroborated through his “Canyon.” The ‘Combine’ employed a broad spectrum of elements, such as oil, house & tube paints, pencil, paper, metal, photographs, fabric, wood on canvas, buttons, mirror, stuffed eagle, cardboard box, pillow, and nails. This diverse work of multiple connotations, unifies just one creative philosophy, that of free & independent randomness. To clear his understanding of art, Robert once commented, “It is neither Art for Art, nor Art against Art. I am for Art, but for Art that has nothing to do with Art. Art has everything to do with life, but it has nothing to do with Art.”

All through his artistic journey, Robert Rauschenberg urged to communicate to the audience through objects and items that played as representational aids, giving American contemporary art and sculpture a new meaning and aspect. Robert Rauschenberg’s other famous assemblages, other than “Canyon” are ‘Gloria’ (1956), ‘Summer Rental III’ (1960), and the famous ‘Monogram’ (1959). The master of creative experimentation, Robert Rauschenberg, died on May 12, 2008 due to heart failure in Captiva Island, Florida. His ‘Contemporary Art’ piece “Canyon” presently graces the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.