Robert Rauschenberg is an American artist born on October 22 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas. Growing up in a strict and religious household, within a conservative community, Rauschenberg aspired to become a minister. It wasn’t until he discovered that his church labeled dancing sinful that Rauschenberg renounced his mission, being a skilled dancer himself. He attended college at the University of Texas to study pharmacology, as per the wish of his parents, but was expelled for refusing to dissect a frog. Luckily, he escaped having to confront his parents when he was drafted for the war.
Sticking to his values, Rauschenberg was stationed in San Diego, as a medical technician in the Navy Hospital Corps, for refusing to kill on the battlefield. It was during this period that he saw oil paintings in person for the very first time. After the war, he put himself through art school, and eventually went on to become one of the 20th century’s most influential American artists.
Rauschenberg worked as a costume and stage designer, painter, sculptor, musician, and used non-traditional materials to question the line between art and everyday objects.
The collective works of Rauschenberg and Jasper John, his friend and partner, singlehandedly opened the doors for the pop art movement of the 1960s, paving the way for artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to follow.