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Biography of Robert Rauschenberg

See works in the collection

b. 1925, Port Arthur, Texas | d. 2008, Captiva Island, Florida

1925
Born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg on October 22.
1944
Serves in the U.S. Marines.
1947
Enrolls at the Kansas City Art Institute. Changes his name to Bob and then later to Robert.
1948
Studies at the Académie Julian in Paris and at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina.
1949
Moves to New York.
1950
Attends classes at the Art Students League, where he meets Cy Twombly.
1951
Rauschenberg's work is included in Abstraction in Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Has his first solo show, at Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. Begins the White Paintings and black paintings series.
1952
Participates in Theater Piece #1, a performance organized by John Cage considered the first "happening" in the history of art. Travels to Europe and Africa with Cy Twombly.
1954
Begins to make Combines, works that integrate aspects of sculpture and painting.
1959
Participates in Documenta 2 in Kassel, Germany, and in the V Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo. Rauschenberg's work is included in L'exposition internationale du surréalisme at Galerie Daniel Cordier in Paris, organized by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp.
1961
Rauschenberg's work is presented in The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Exhibits at Galerie Daniel Cordier in Paris.
1962
Begins to use silkscreening in his work.
1963
The Jewish Museum in New York presents the first retrospective of Rauschenberg's work.
1964
The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London organizes a retrospective of his work. Participates in the XXXII Biennale di Venezia, where he wins the International Grand Prize in Painting, and in Documenta 3 in Kassel, Germany.
1965
Exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
1968
Rauschenberg's Autobiography, a print almost 16 feet tall, is exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Exhibits at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Participates in Documenta 4 in Kassel, Germany.
1970
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts presents a major exhibition of Rauschenberg's graphic work. Removes his work from the United States Pavilion at the XXXV Biennale di Venezia in protest against the Vietnam War.
1972
Begins the Venetian series.
1975
Begins the Spread series. Exhibits at the Museo d'Arte Moderna Ca' Pesaro in Venice.
1976
The National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. presents a retrospective of his work. Exhibits at Forte di Belvedere in Florence. Awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of South Florida in Tampa.
1977
Begins the Scale series. Participates in Documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany.
1980
The Staatliche Kunsthalle in West Berlin holds a retrospective exhibition of his work.
1981
Rauschenberg's photography is exhibited at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris.
1982–83
Travels to Japan, China, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
1984
Launches ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange) at the United Nations in New York, a program in which the artist travels to eleven different countries to make art with local artists and artisans, each visit culminating in an exhibition.
1985
The Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City hosts the first ROCI exhibition. ROCI exhibitions are also presented in Santiago, Chile; Caracas, Venezuela; Beijing; and Lhasa, Tibet. In subsequent years, ROCI exhibitions will take place in Tokyo, Havana, Moscow, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, and Washington, D.C. Rauschenberg's work is shown at the Fundación Juan March in Madrid. The show later travels to the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona.
1986
Begins the Shiners series.
1987
Exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
1989
Begins the Borealis series.
1990
Establishes the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. An exhibition of Rauschenberg's work is shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
1991
The final ROCI exhibition is presented at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
1992
Begins the Waterworks series.
1993
Receives the Second Hiroshima Art Prize, awarded by the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art. An exhibition of Rauschenberg's work is presented at the museum in conjunction with the award presentation.
1994
Exhibits at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf.
1995
The Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth in Forth Worth, Texas, presents the first retrospective of Rauschenberg's sculptures.
1996
Exhibits at the Monastero Mechitarista dell'Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni near Venice. Receives the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture.
1997
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York presents a major retrospective of Rauschenberg's work. The exhibition travels the following year to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
1998
Receives the Praemium Imperiale for painting, awarded by the Japan Art Association.
1999
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents an exhibition of his work. Rauschenberg's work is featured in American Pop Art at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
2004
Exhibits at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. The Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara, Italy, presents a major exhibition of his work.
2005
Receives the Premi Internacional Julio González from the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern in Valencia, Spain. The Institut Valencià d'Art Modern in Valencia exhibits twenty-eight pieces from the Gluts series. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York presents an exhibition of Rauschenberg's Combines. The show later travels to the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris.
2006
Rauschenberg's work is included in Homage to Chillida at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
2007
The Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Menil Collection in Houston present exhibitions of Rauschenberg's work. Video documentation of the 1967 performance Linoleum is shown at Performa 07 in New York. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., presents Let the World In: Prints by Robert Rauschenberg from the National Gallery of Art and Related Collections.
2008
Exhibitions devoted to Rauschenberg's work are presented at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Robert Rauschenberg: Prints/Editions, 1962–78), Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, California (Robert Rauschenberg in the Collection of the Long Beach Museum of Art), and La Caja Negra in Madrid (Robert Rauschenberg: Gráfica, 1976–2000). Dies on May 12.
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