Robert Rauschenberg was a postwar American artist bridging the Abstract Expressionism and Pop-art movements in the United States. After serving in the US Navy in WWII, he studied art, first at the Kansas City Art Institute, and later at the Academie Julian in Paris, Black Mountain College in North Carolina under Joseph Albers, and at The Art Students League in New York City. Towards the end of 1954, Rauschenberg struck up a friendship with Jasper Johns and began work on his seminal Combine Paintings, 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 Change, Inc., and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and has contributed original work to the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange (ROCI), the United Nations, and Future Generations. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honours, including the Grand Prize at the Venice Biennale (1964); the National Medal of Arts Award (1993); and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture (1996). He has exhibited worldwide, and his work can be found in the collections of some of the world's most renowned art institutions.