How Robert Rauschenberg helped to globalise the art world

As the Tate Modern’s new blockbuster retrospective will show, Robert Rauschenberg was nothing if not a pioneer. Coming to the fore in the 1950s, he anticipated both Pop Art and Conceptual Art, with his interest in everyday objects, and celebrated “Combines”, that melded painting and sculpture. But his questing spirit wasn’t just reserved for his own work; in his desire to forge connections between artists and art scenes worldwide, he strove to change the very nature of the contemporary art world. This he did primarily through a project known as the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange, or Roci. Launched in 1984, it was an initiative he set up to engage with countries where

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