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Robert Rauschenberg with then-assistant Brice Marden, New York, 1968; photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson, courtesy of Robert Rauschenberg Archive, New York
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by Jerry Saltz

Artists working for other artists is all about knowing, learning, unlearning, initiating long-term artistic dialogues, making connections, creating covens, and getting temporary shelter from the storm. These mentorships and collaborations end up helping shape art and, especially in the U.S., they set up a crucial chain that enriches the art world; many of these young artists end up teaching in art schools themselves (unlike, say, the U.K., where most of the YBAs retreated into their own studios and/or material success). This percolates into real change.