Born in Port Arthur, Texas. Studied art in Kansas City in 1947, and the following year traveled to Paris. After returning to America, began studies at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where Josef Albers was then teaching. There he met and formed close friendships with composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham, and he later participated in some of their projects. After moving to New York, he studied at the Art Students League. In 1951 he displayed his White Paintings and had his first one-man show. In 1955, he set up his studio in the same building as Jasper Johns, and they began their close interactions. He began his Combine Paintings in 1955, incorporating three dimensional objects into his works, and in the 1960s he created paintings incorporating assemblage and silkscreen techniques.