Detail of second panel of Robert Rauschenberg's Autobiography
Part of Rauschenberg Research Project
The spiral of text on the central panel of Autobiography (1968) resembles a fingerprint and offers an abbreviated history of Rauschenberg’s life and artistic career. At the heart of the text, a red box anchored by a downward arrow frames a transferred photograph of the artist as a child boating with his parents, Dora and Ernest Rauschenberg, near Port Arthur, Texas. Within the text, the arrow connects the words “Family” and “It was a rich exchange,” linking a reference to the most significant relationships of his childhood with one from adulthood—his close friendship with composer John Cage (1912–1992).