Few artists of the twentieth century exerted as immense an influence over a diversity of fields as Robert Rauschenberg. As a visual artist, Rauschenberg sensed the limitations of Abstract Expressionism and laid the foundation for Pop Art. His combines of the 1950s were audacious in their use of found objects such as tires and taxidermied animals, and blurred the lines between sculpture, painting, and installation art.
Rauschenberg made his first lithographs in 1962 and used various techniques to transfer images, illustrated here in one of his best known prints, "Booster." Related to dance images from the 1950s in which the artist captured the human form on light-sensitive paper, the central image of the skeleton derives from X-rays of himself. It was printed from two lithographic stones and includes a superimposed astronomer's chart that refers to the movement of heavenly bodies for 1967 (the year of this print). Rauschenberg's use of images from advertising and popular culture in his work presciently signaled a paradigmatic shift in the use of such images in the second half of the twentieth century. At the time Rauschenberg made this print, it was noteworthy in part for its scale, and it dates from his involvement with Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), which brought together artists and engineers to collaborate on performances that incorporated new technology.