While walking the streets of downtown Manhattan during the 1950s and 1960s, Robert Rauschenberg often kept an eye out for curious items, taking “whatever the day would lay out” as inspiration for his work. He was one among many artists around the world who sought to create an art that—in its subject matter, materials, and making—was closely intertwined with daily life. A taxidermied bald eagle, bones, clock mechanics, eggshells, junkyard parts, and leftover manufactured items—these are just some of the repurposed materials used by the artists in this gallery.
Artists interested in the quotidian combined found objects with conventional art materials in “assemblages.” Looking beyond traditional mediums such as oil paint and bronze, and beyond traditional formats such as easel paintings and cast sculptures, these artists posed a new set of conditions for art, whereby any and all parts of everyday life were fair game.
Organized by Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, Curator, Department of Media and Performance, and Cara Manes, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, with Danielle Johnson, former Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints.