Stunt is a rare example from Robert Rauschenberg's series of Silkscreen Paintings. The series was begun in the fall of 1962 and completed in the spring of 1964. Prior to beginning these paintings, Rauschenberg had joined Jasper Johns in experimenting with lithography at ULAE under the direction of Tatyana Grosman. Soon afterward, Rauschenberg integrated the printing techniques he had learned from Grosman with his painting methods.
Instead of using lithography as he had once done at ULAE, Rauschenberg used a silkscreen process. He selected images from mass media sources and his personal archives and then had them commercially transferred onto a photo-sensitized screen. By squeegeeing ink through the screen, Rauschenberg would apply the image directly onto the canvas. Painting became a new challenge for Rauschenberg in which he was able to turn the mechanical silkscreen process into an entirely personal medium, mixing an expressionist handling of paint with silkscreen application of photographic images. In the spring of 1963, Rauschenberg began to integrate color into the Silkscreen Paintings which had initially begun with only a black and white palette.
'The "breakdown" of a photographic image into an abstraction of itself is perhaps nowhere more brilliantly realized than in the crate of oranges in Windward, 1963 (Private collection, Basel) and Stunt. Rauschenberg uses this close-up view of a display of Sunkist oranges, reproduced in naturalistic colors and seen slightly from above, so that the rows of oranges recede into depth. Rauschenberg painted over one of the oranges with orange paint, and it appears as a flat, matte circle in the midst of or its volumetric, shiny neighbors' (R. Feinstein, p. 50). In Stunt, the text of the Sunkist display is juxtaposed to the right of the image of the oranges. Rauschenberg included three other important images in Stunt: a view from the cockpit of a space craft taken from the NASA archives, a picture of the sea, painted blue by the artist, and the familiar diagram of a box which Rauschenberg has repeatedly used since he began the series of Silkscreen Paintings.