Los Angeles Times, file
May 13, 2008
Pop artist Robert Rauschenberg, May 12
Artist Robert Rauschenberg, whose use of odd and everyday articles earned him regard as a pioneer in pop art but whose talents spanned the worlds of painting, sculpture and dance, died on Monday, May 12, 2008, at his home in Captiva, Fla. He was 82. Rauschenberg, who first gained fame in the 1950s, didn't mine popular culture wholesale as Andy Warhol (Campbell's Soup cans) and Roy Lichtenstein (comic books) did. But his ``combines,'' incongruous combinations of three-dimensional objects and paint, shared pop's blurring of art and objects from modern life. Among his most famous combines was ``Bed,'' created when he woke up in the mood to paint but had no money for a canvas. His solution was to take the quilt off his bed and use paint, toothpaste and fingernail polish for his creation. In recent years he founded the organization Change Inc., which helps struggling artists pay medical bills. ``I don't ever want to go,'' he told Harper's Bazaar in 1997 when asked of his own death. ``I don't have a sense of great reality about the next world; my feet are too ugly to wear those golden slippers. But I'm working on my fear of it. And my fear is that something interesting will happen, and I'll miss it.''