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BRANDEN W. JOSEPH

Robert Rauschenberg, National Spinning/Red/Spring, 1971, cardboard and string, 100 x 98 1⁄2 x 8 1⁄2".

IT IS A MEASURE OF ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG’S ingenuity and inventiveness that, at the moment of his passing away, the art world is only just catching up to his output from the 1970s. The series from that time—the “Cardboards,” “Venetians,” “Early Egyptians,” “Hoarfrosts,” “Jammers,” and more—had never really been hidden. All had figured within the 1976 and 1997 retrospectives organized by Rauschenberg’s best and most dedicated curatorial champion, Walter Hopps.¹ Nevertheless, this era of the artist’s production had received little sustained focus until the 2007 exhibition at Houston’s Menil Collection, “Robert Rauschenberg: Cardboards and Related Pieces,” and its European augmentation originating at the Museu Serralves in Porto, Portugal, that same year, “Robert Rauschenberg: Travelling ’70–’76.” Although much of Rauschenberg’s work of the ’70s harks back to the (anti)compositional

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