What is a man? And who is an artist? Most impolite but let’s say it: What is a gay, or who? The presence though hardly the hegemonic force of queer people in the history of art, Modernism, the contemporary art world, etc., has been acknowledged for quite some time, though rather in a more discreet yes-we-know-but-the-world-doesn’t way. Once, I was moved to plan a group show that consisted entirely of gay men, and my dream line-up included Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, Jasper Johns, and maybe Forrest Bess as a wild card, artists whose work is not inextricably tied up with (the artist’s) sexuality. Warhol, no: Too many drag queens at the Factory, too obvious, delicious and awful but “everybody knows.” That was 1990. A different time. Now the decorum but also the hypocrisies of bygone days are vanquished, or just forgotten, and nobody needs shelter in the shade of “yes we know but__”.
- David Rimanelli