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BARBARA ROSE

Robert Rauschenberg in his Lafayette Street studio, New York, 1968. Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson.

THE LAST TIME I SAW BOB RAUSCHENBERG was this past March in Valencia, Spain. He had been unable to go the year before, when he was awarded the prestigious Julio González International Prize for lifetime achievement—but no one could keep him from attending the exhibition opening of his friend Darryl Pottorf at the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno. It was the usual Bob story: The doctors forbade him to go, so of course he went. He was in great form, despite being confined to his wheelchair, as he had been since his stroke in 2002. (Considering that he could never sit still, being tied down had plunged him into a terrible depression. He told me that Chuck Close had saved him by showing him how he could still work.) In Valencia, Bob stayed up through the night to see the group of Brazilian dancers and musicians that performed, keeping time with the one hand he could still

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