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Collages & Combines

Study the artwork of Robert Rauschenberg then create an original collage with written analysis.

  • Grade 5
    Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Robert Rauschenberg is a contemporary American artist, living in New York and Florida. His varied artwork includes painting, sculpture, prints, collage, and performance. He is best known for his Pop-Art, which uses images found in popular culture, such as advertisements, television, famous people, and events.
    2. Rauschenberg was born on October 22, 1925, at Port Arthur, Texas. He studied pharmacy briefly and served in the U.S. Marines. He then began to study art at various institutes including the Kansas City Art Institute, Academie Julian in Paris, Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and the Art Students' League in New York. He was associated with many prominent artists including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and James Rosenquist, who became his close friend.
    3. One of the methods Rauschenberg used in his art was collage. His earlier works used a method of transferring images he found in newspapers and magazines to his canvas through silk screen. His later work, which he called Combines, uses real objects attached to paintings or sculptures.
    4. Have students look closely at one of Rauschenberg's photographic silk screens. What images do they see? Decide what the artist might have been saying with his work. Students should write their ideas with Crayola® Colored Pencils.
    5. Students will make a collage of their own using Crayola Scissors to cut interesting pictures from recycled newspapers or magazines. Use Washable Crayola Glue Sticks to attach them to paper.
    6. Add details to the collage with Crayola Markers. For a more painterly effect, draw over your collage with Crayola Oil Pastels, and smudge the edges of the pastel strokes.
    7. Write a description and interpretation of the collage for its viewers.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

    LA: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students may select on of the artists that influenced Rauschenberg's artistic development, such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and/or James Rosenquist to research. Investigate backgrounds and identify artistic techniques favored by these artists. What influence might they have had on Rauschenberg? Organize research into an electronic presentation for classmates to view.

    Identify a contemporary issue that is close to you. Create a thematic collage that deals with that issue. What message do you want to send about this issue? Write a one-paragraph description to accompany your collage.

    Create an original Combine (see Canyon, 1959, and Rose Condor, 1977). Choose an object to insert in your work. Use Crayola School Glue to attach the object to cardboard; paint around and on the object with Crayola Tempera Paint.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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