Art and soul

Robert Rauschenberg's triumphant survey at Tate Modern, goat included

There was much art-world hype earlier in the year about Robert Rauschenberg's famously fragile Monogram goat travelling to London for the first time in two decades. It was posited as a lynchpin in Tate Modern's anticipated Rauschenberg retrospective – another UK first since the great American artist passed away in 2008.

Kneeling down next to the beast, looking into Monogram's glassy eyes, he was worth the 20-year wait. There's humorous absurdity in his vacant expression, his chin hairs matted in a rainbow seal of oil paint. But there's also something mournful. He's suspended in a ridiculous tyre belt, to be ogled by visitors. Monogram began life as a $15 stuffed animal at a used furniture store. Since then, he's had quite the life. Like many of the artist's renowned Combines, Monogram developed various appendages over a number of years. At one stage, he was mounted on a vertical canvas before being slotted inside the rubber tyre for which he's now known. As Rauschenberg said, the tyre and the goat 'lived happily ever after'.

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ArtL'Anonymepainting, sculpture