Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) was one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century. A chronicler of contemporary life, most especially the American experience, Rauschenberg's great themes were the city, technology, multiculturalism, and the environment. He worked in a broad range of media as a painter, sculptor, draftsman, photographer, performance artist, choreographer, theater designer, and printmaker. In each of these media, Rauschenberg made innovative use of materials that led to radical new formats–the early "Combines" mixing painting and ordinary objects like a chair, radio, or taxidermied goat; the silkscreen paintings with their transfer of photographic imagery to the canvas; and, the use of electronics and other means to create participatory works of art that prompt audience interaction. The provocative and poetic collisions of images, things, and ideas in Rauschenberg's art are layered in their personal reflections on the social, political, and cultural currents of our time. Three upcoming presentations at the Grand Rapids Art Museum–Robert Rauschenberg in Context, Robert Rauschenberg at Gemini, and Synapsis Shuffle (1999) provide a rich introduction to the defining aspects of Robert Rauschenberg art.