- Madonna Lyrics Reimagined As Motivational Posters
- White House Plans First National Monument To Honor Gay Rights
- Six Queer Promposals That Will Light Up Your Life
- Vintage Pics From Waikiki’s Gay Beaches Prove That Speedos Never Go Out Of Style
- PHOTOS: These Vintage Gay Pride Photos Are Absolutely Everything
- PHOTOS: Andrew Rannells Celebrates Model Behavior Backstage At Jeffrey Fashion Cares
- PHOTOS: Hunky Jesus Contest Brings Beloved Sacrilege Back To San Francisco
- Fit For A Queen: The Lavish ’70s Palm Springs Home That Time Forgot
- The Gay Easter Parade Hops Through The French Quarter In New Orleans
- PHOTOS: Raided Legendary LA Club Brought Back To Life In Remarkable Images
- More LGBT People Are Moving To “Red” States
- PHOTOS: Inside The Fabulous Launch Party For Queerty’s New “Going Places” Web Series
- PHOTOS: 12 Extraordinary Kisses To Remember Valentine’s Day
- Closeted Married Men, Gay Vets, And Tap-Dancing Lesbians: 10 Juicy Winter Reading Recommendations
- Queerty’s V-Day Kiss Photo Contest: Hit It, Submit It & Win
Search the blog
POPULAR TAGSpride haus Theater New York City party haus GayCities London Marriage Equality Fire Island travel Chicago Los Angeles Miami Photos Las Vegas Washington DC Pride New York benefit haus Jeffrey James Keyes San Francisco
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.