Average: 1 (1 vote)

Arty Fact

jtucker's picture


The award for most creative title goes to…(drum roll)…not Robert Rauschenberg!

It is called Bed, and that's exactly what it is. This is a classic Rauschenberg combine, which is a fancy word for a collage that fuses both sculpture and painting. But why would an artist choose to forgo the canvas and opt for their quilt instead? It may be hard to dish out the pity points now since Rauschenberg combines tend to rake in upwards of $30 million, but once upon a time he was a struggling artist with not so much as a canvas to paint on.

With an itch to paint but no surface to do it on, the clever Rauschenberg decided to dawn his PJs and transform his blanky into his next masterpiece! At the time of the creation of Bed, it was one of those hot, muggy New York nights, so Rauschenberg decided he didn’t need the extra cover anyways. A lack of foresight if you ask me, New York winters are not forgiving.

When Rauschenberg began the piece, he had a vision of transforming the blanket into a completely different object through the use of paint and pencil. After a short while, as you can see, the blanket still looked like a blanket so he rolled with it, adding sheets and a pillow to finish…making the bed. (Sorry, I had to.)

For all you pervs out there, this is the perfect piece to hang your carnal desires on. While some see the remnants of lovemaking in this piece, others see a sign of autoerotic pleasure. Some critics have even condemned the messy bed, identifying it as a symbol of violence and rape. Since Rauschenberg called the work “an intimate self portrait”, we can only hope that the latter analysis is not true. More recently, historians have taken Rauschenberg’s sexuality into account and suggest the bed may be a symbol of his private homoerotic desires. In the ‘50’s people were very close-minded about being gay and you sort of had to stay in the proverbial linen closet.

Bed may seem like a joke to you (and I’m sure my puns aren’t helping), but that’s kind of the point. The art world was, and arguably still is, a stuffy place filled with highbrow intellectuals who take themselves way too seriously. Rauschenberg made it his goal to mock the stern nature of art, and throwing his used bed in their face seemed like it would do the trick. Perhaps indicating he was tired of their BS? Heh heh.

Comments (1)


Ok, this just looks like a bed with a half painting to me. One star.