According to rumor, the quilt and pillow at the heart of Bed (1955) came from the actual bed Robert Rauschenberg shared with Jasper Johns in a New York City tenement. True or, more likely, not, the work still shocks: it's a bed hanging on a wall, and it demands our reverence. We must look up at a vertical object we're more used to (comfortable with) seeing horizontally and beneath us. And then we almost have to begin nodding, in order to follow the paths of the crazy pencil scribbles and paint splatters.
Is the work a metaphor for two artists tussling through the creative process? For the connection between rest and sight (not enough rest leads to altered sight, at night we see in dreams what we can't / won't / don't see when awake)? Or is it just fun, an exuberant expression of joy regarding two great acts --- making art and taking a rest? We're not sure, but we do adore it.