Political Appropriation: Skyway By Robert Rauschenberg

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Appropriation is the act of borrowing images or elements of existing work in new work, hereby changing it’s original context. Most often, artists appropriate in order to encourage the viewer to reconsider the original meaning of the work in this new, more related context. “The process and nature of appropriation has considered by anthropologists as part of the study of cultural change and cross-cultural contact.” (Schneider, 2007) Robert Rauschenberg, born 1925 in Texas, was a popular modern artist, frequently making use of progressive new art techniques, found objects and appropriation. Although young at the time, he was considered to be one of the most influential American artists of the 1950’s. He was a contributing member of both the…show more content…
With United States president J.F. Kennedy having been assassinated one year prior to this piece, it is easily noted that these images of him were circulating through the media at the time, grasping the attention of Rauschenberg. It is, therefore, of no surprise that his work in 1964 made use of political appropriation. "I was bombarded with television sets and magazines, by the excess of the world. I thought an honest work should incorporate all of those elements.” (Rauschenberg) With the use of silkscreen, he was able to transfer the images onto a canvas,…show more content…
By 1969 space travel became a reality. Owing to this, Sky Garden was painted as 1 in a series of 49 prints created by Rauschenberg, called Stoned Moon. NASA Art Program invited Rauschenberg to Cape Canaveral in Florida to witness the launch of Apollo 11 and granted him unrestricted access to all of the facilities, grounds, documents, photographs and scientists in order to create a work which commemorated the first manned spaceflight to the moon. This particular moment inspired many pieces of Rauschenberg’s as it was a sense of hope during the time defined by the civil rights movements and anti-war protests against the Vietnam War. "The whole project seemed one of the only things at that time that was not concerned with war and destruction.”

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