Robert Rauschenberg was a post-war American artist who bridged the Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art movements in the United States. After serving in the US Navy in World War II, he studied art, first at the Kansas City Art Institute and later at the Académie Julian in Paris, Black Mountain College in North Carolina under Joseph Albers, and The Art Students League of New York. Towards the end of 1954, Rauschenberg struck up a friendship with Jasper Johns and began work on his seminal Combines, in which he combined aspects of painting and sculpture. This interplay of different media has remained central to Rauschenberg's work. Rauschenberg founded a number of philanthropic ventures including the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Change, Inc., and he has contributed original work to the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange and the United Nations. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honours, including the 1964 Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale; the 1993 National Medal of Arts Award; and the 1996 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. He has exhibited worldwide, and his work can be found in the collections of some of the world's most renowned art institutions.