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Robert Rauschenberg Pioneer of Pop Art

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Pop artist Robert Rauschenberg dies in Fla. at 82

Robert Rauschenberg, whose use of odd and everyday articles earned him a reputation as a pioneer in pop art but whose talents spanned the worlds of painting, sculpture and dance, has died, his gallery representative said today. He was 82.

Rauschenberg died Monday, said Jennifer Joy, his representative at PaceWildenstein gallery in New York. Rauschenberg, who first gained fame in the 1950s, didn't mine popular culture wholesale as Andy Warhol did with Campbell's soup cans and Roy Lichtenstein did with comic books.

Instead, his “combines," incongruous combinations of three-dimensional objects and paint, shared pop's blurring of art and objects from modern life.

He also responded to his pop colleagues and began incorporating up-to-the-minute photographed images in his works in the 1960s, including, memorably, pictures of John F. Kennedy.

Among Rauschenberg's most famous works was “Bed," created after he woke up in the mood to paint but had no money for a canvas. His solution was to take the quilt off his bed and use paint, toothpaste and fingernail polish.

Not to be limited by paint, Rauschenberg was a sculptor and choreographer and even won a 1984 Grammy Award for best album package for the Talking Heads album “Speaking in Tongues."

“I'm curious," he said in 1997 in one of the few interviews he granted in later years. “It's very rewarding. I'm still discovering things every day."

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