Tire (517)

Tire by Robert Rauschenberg
Tire
Stop Number: 
517

Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008)
With the assistance of Daniel Spitzer and Dan Dailey
United States, Brooklyn, New York
Designed in 1997 and made in 2005
Mold-blown glass, cold-worked; silver-plated steel tire carrier
H: 78.7 cm, W: 68.5 cm, D: 29.2 cm
(2007.4.5)

Rauschenberg is an internationally acclaimed artist who came to prominence in the 1950s. Interested equally in abstraction and in popular culture, he was one of an early group of Pop artists who changed the course of modern art. The tire is an enduring symbol in his work, and its meaning is ambiguous.

The artist chose to re-create the rubber tire—humble, dirty, industrial, and ecologically adverse—in colorless glass and it is presented as a thing of beauty. Luminous and seemingly precious, the glass tire casually leans in its silvered tire carrier. The work, as is typical of Rauschenberg, is ironic, but it also encourages the viewer to consider everyday objects in new and unexpected ways.

Partial gift of Daniel Greenberg, Susan Steinhauser, and The Greenberg Foundation, and The F. M. Kirby Foundation.