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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Frame by Frame

Making ordered work out of lifelike wildness

WALTHAM — “I want to give a really BAD party,” says Dick Diver, the great party host in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender Is the Night.” “I mean it. I want to give a party where there’s a brawl and seductions and people going home with their feelings hurt and women passed out in the cabinet de toilette. You wait and see.”

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was the Dick Diver of American postwar art. He understood intuitively the need for art, like social life, to get messy again after too many years of starchy self-importance and pomposity. That’s why I love him, and it’s why I particularly love this work at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University.

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