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Robert Rauschenberg and Surrealism: Art, 'Sensibility' and War in the 1960s
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Robert Rauschenberg and Surrealism: Art, 'Sensibility' and War in the 1960s (Hardback)

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The art of Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) is usually viewed as quite distinct from Surrealist art, while the artist himself displayed some hostility towards Surrealism. However, Rauschenberg had a very positive reception among Surrealists, particularly across the period 1959-69.

In the face of Rauschenberg's avowals of his own 'literalism' and insistence on his art as 'facts,' this book gathers the generous evidence of the poetic, metaphorical, allusive, associative, connotative dimension of the oeuvre as identified by Surrealists, extrapolating new readings from key works on that basis. By viewing Rauschenberg's art against the expansion of the cultural influence of the United States in Europe in the period after the Second World War and the increasingly politicized activities of the Surrealists in the era of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62), Robert Rauschenberg and Surrealism shows how poetic inference of the artist's work was turned towards political interpretation. In these ways, Rauschenberg's art is newly perceived through Surrealism here, while Surrealism is newly understood against the art criticism and history of the 1960s.

Gavin Parkinson is Senior Lecturer in European Modernism, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK.

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