Wednesday May 14, 2008
Robert Rauschenberg, one of the most important artists of our time, has died at age 82. His art-world prominence began in the 1950s with his "combine" works that melded painting and sculpture.
Like many people who came of age in the 1950s—when being openly queer could kill one's career— Rauschenberg was circumspect about his sexuality. He and painter John Jaspers were young lovers and their avant-garde inner circle included such gay blades as choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cale. However, Rauschenberg and Jaspers snubbed Andy Warhol for being too "swish."
Rauschenberg never publicly came out, and accordng to Rauschenberg scholar Jonathan Katz, the artist referred to himself as panssexual. "You have to remember," say Katz, "While we think of the term 'gay' today as a political identity as well as a sexual one, during the 1950s homosexuality was a pathology."
Critics discerned lots of gay subtext in Rauschenberg's art, but according to Katz, "He didn't want the larger cultural world to make his sexuality a factor in his work."
Rauschenberg amassed an enormous fortune over the years. Presumably, much of it will go to his surviving companion and former assistant Darryl Pottorf.
Copyright © 2010 MyComrade.com