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Cardbirds I - VII, 1971

Robert Rauschenberg

American, 1925-2008
Set of seven collaged and screen-printed cardboard wall reliefs, Edition of 75, No. 26
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
Art © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Not on view

From the outset of his career, Robert Rauschenberg displayed a remarkably free and unconventional approach to techniques and materials. Beginning in the 1950s, Rauschenberg incorporated discarded objects from everyday life into his paintings, referring to these works as "Combine Paintings." These assemblages evolved from the artist's desire to “operate in the gap between art and life.”

The Cardbirds are wall reliefs that evolved from this concern. Each of the works in this series is a carefully printed wall relief that replicates a discarded and disassembled cardboard box. Although they appear to be indistinguishable from the original object, everything on the boxes has been reproduced, from the shipping tape to the tiniest rip and tear. The artist even collaged authentic stamps, bills and sealing tape onto the screen prints to complete the edition.

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