The first of its kind, this image was specially created for the cover of the fortieth-anniversary issue of Aperture magazine. Because no single image could serve to represent forty years, Aperture Foundation looked to Rauschenberg—among his extraordinary talents is collage—to create a cover that would visually and metaphorically give a sense of Aperture.
Orchestrating often disparate images, Rauschenberg discovers juxtapositions and interrelations that defy preconceptions and a linear reading. Yet the liberating quality of his work is found in the multiplicity of experiences it presents. The wheel and horse in this piece are recurrent images in his oeuvre—they may signify movement in different directions, by different means, over time.
Robert Rauschenberg (born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1925; died Captiva, Florida, 2006), known for his collages and "combines," has been widely exhibited and honored since the early 1950s, when he participated in the first "Happening" at Black Mountain College. A collaborator of Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and many other visual and performing artists, he was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science.