Collection 1950s–1970s


Everyday Encounters



Robert Rauschenberg. Canyon. 1959. Oil, pencil, paper, metal, photograph, fabric, wood, canvas, buttons, mirror, taxidermied eagle, cardboard, pillow, paint tube and other materials, 81 3/4 × 70 × 24" (207.6 × 177.8 × 61 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the family of Ileana Sonnabend. © 2023 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
  • MoMA, Floor 4, 408 The David Geffen Wing

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.

13 works online


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].