Robert Rauschenberg, a pioneer of pop art and one of the greatest American artists of the 20th century, died yesterday at 82, the AP reports. Rauschenberg's "combine paintings" of the 1950s, which incorporated three-dimensional objects ranging from soda bottles to stuffed birds, were seen as revolutionary, but over a decades-long career he also worked in other media, including sculpture and dance.
Born Milton Rauschenberg in 1925, he was raised a fundamentalist Christian but abandoned plans to become a minister after he learned the church banned dancing. He studied art on a GI bill and met Jasper Johns; the artists became lovers and influenced each other's work. Rauschenberg worked into his 80s, saying, "It's very rewarding. I'm still discovering things every day." Cause of death was not disclosed.