- Dan Savage On How To Make A Crowd-Pleasing NSFW Video
- 10 Spring Reading Recommendations For All You Sexy Book Nerds
- Brent Everett’s Real-Life “Throuple” Relationship Inspired A Romance Novel
- 12 Amazing Ways To Enjoy San Francisco (Including The Hunky Jesus Contest)
- 13 Guaranteed Ways To Fail At Picking Up Someone Up At A Bar From A Castro Bartender
- The Fast And The Fabulous: Gay Couple Enjoys Ride Of Their Lives On Their Own Private Speedway
- Kiss & Tell: These Photos Of Same Love Speak A Thousand Words
- PHOTOS: Miss Fame And The New Crop Of Ru Girls Live It Up At The Diamond Horseshoe
- The Love That Never Stops Speaking Its Name
- Take A “Looking” Tour Of San Francisco With Seven Hotspots
- These Photos Of Same-Sex Love Show Why We Are Changing The World Every Day
- Kiss & Tell: Show Us Your Love Pics And Win A Trip To San Francisco
- PHOTOS: It’s All Leather And Fur For These Fashion Week Models
- We Love The Nightlife! Shake Your Groove Thing And Party Like A Rock Star in L.A.
- GayCities Kiss Photo Contest: Hit It, Submit It & Win A Trip To San Francisco
Search the blog
POPULAR TAGSLondon New York travel Washington DC Las Vegas San Francisco Theater Photos GayCities party haus benefit haus Chicago Pride Jeffrey James Keyes Fire Island pride haus Los Angeles New York City Marriage Equality Miami
Did MoMA Closet Queer Artists Jasper Johns And Robert Rauschenberg?
Feb 27, 2013
A new exhibit at New York’s Museum of Modern Art highlights the work of modern artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg—but one critic claims “Johns and Rauschenberg” is closeting the queer artists, who were lovers during the period of collaboration the show covers.
Slate.com’s Mark Joseph Stern reports that “Johns and Rauschenberg” ignores the art pioneers intimate relationship, even though it had a profound effect on their art:
The painting contains one of Johns’ famous Americans flags reversed and coated in thick, dark paint, occluding the iconic image with gloomy tones. Johns painted his first American flag soon after meeting Rauschenberg, and completed In Memory during their break-up. Accordingly, the piece is often interpreted as an illustration of a relationship tarnished, smothered, and increasingly obscured by the passage of time.
While those two works are not on display in “Johns and Rauschenberg,” several of the installation’s paintings could be rewardingly subjected to similar analysis. MoMA gives us no such gifts, though, skating over the true nature of the two men’s relationship and, at one point, actively denying it, really, by referring to Johns as Rauschenberg’s “friend.”
…Even a brief reference to the artists’ sexuality could clue savvy viewers into keener investigation of these droll, elliptical works—or, even better, complete the installation’s narrative. MoMA tells us that Johns’ and Rauschenberg’s collaboration led them away from abstract expressionism, but it fails to explain how they discovered Pop Art. That genre, birthed by these two artistic giants, was built upon rejection of societal norms including hyper-masculinity and heternormativity.
Its gay dimension was present from its genesis, yet a casual visitor to “Johns and Rauschenberg” might think Pop Art merely sprung out of two buddies’ wacky experiments.
Stern maintains that while the artists may have been secretive about their relationship, it’s a well-established fact by now. (One highlighted in the 2010 National Portrait Gallery show “Hide/Seek.” ) And regardless of the artists’ preferences in their lifetimes—Johns is 82, Rauschenberg died in 2008—the museum has a larger obligation to its visitors.