Today, I will talk about a Modern artwork. Estate (1963) by Robert Rauschenberg can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I have to say Modern art has never been my favorite. I always thought it was overrated and that the artists projected deep meaning onto their pieces when there was actually none. But, with time, I got to understand it better and like it. Well, not all of it but some.
This artwork is a photographic collage using the technique of screen printing. Rauschenberg also applied some oil painting violently, the same way the abstract expressionists did. This collage shows some important elements of New York City such as the Statue of Liberty, buildings and some streets signs. Estate has been made to show this forgotten daily life that nobody looks at anymore. It also changes the vision of the city that the spectator might have had in the sixties. The city is changing fast, so should its representation. The entire composition of the collage represents the urban swirling movement. Rauschenberg didn’t organize the picture in a specific position, this arbitrary disposition reminds the viewer of the chaos that can be found in the city.
Rauschenberg is a precursor of the American Pop Art associated with Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. This movement had its origin in the UK during the fifties. Lawrence Alloway, in 1955, invented the terms and theorized it. He was part of the Independent Group which thought about the influence of technology on the society, especially mass consumption, and the art. We can first observe this artistic movement with the artists Eduardo Paolozzi and Richard Hamilton who were paying attention to Alloway’s group. In the beginning of the sixties, this movement emerged in New York. The earlier movements refused the image, but the Pop Art imposed it. The Pop Art’s artists wanted to live in their time, and they wanted to show that society and art were changing together. Their goal was also to relate the art to the public, to the streets of the city. They wanted to fight abstraction, which had been prominent in art since the war, and go back to figuration. With the Pop Art, the art was now an advertisement showing a short-lived object American daily life.