Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends

Robert Rauschenberg. Bed. 1955

Oil and pencil on pillow, quilt, and sheet on wood supports, 75 1/4 x 31 1/2 x 8" (191.1 x 80 x 20.3 cm). Gift of Leo Castelli in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. © 2022 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Leah Dickerman: Rauschenberg was always using materials around him. With Bed, he started with a quilt, given to him by Dorothea Rockburne, an artist he had met at Black Mountain College. He added a pillow, and he drips strokes of paint that seem to evoke the gestural painting of abstract expressionist artists. And across the pillow are these rough, almost graffiti-like strokes in pencil that look an awful lot like Cy Twombly's drawings at that time. So suddenly, the work of art no longer suggests that it's the kind of thing that's made in isolation, but rather a work of art as something that comes out of a network of relationships and friendships.

Rauschenberg later said that he thought it was the friendliest work he ever made, and that he was worried that someone might just crawl in.

Rauschenberg’s son, Christopher, grew up with his father’s Combines. To hear his memories, press 8071 and then the search button.

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