Robert Rauschenberg, American Master, Dies at 82

Made mark in pop art, but sculpted and even won a Grammy
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 12:10 PM CDT
In this Wednesday, Dec. 5, 1990 photo, actress and singer Liza Minnelli poses with artist Robert Rauschenberg at the Whitney Museum in New York at a preview party celebrating the opening of Rauschenberg's...   (AP Photo/Ron Frehm, File)
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(Newser) – 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.