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Re: John Giorno

by VanishingPoint (03.01.10 11:08 am)

Given what John Giorno said about Robert Rauschenberg and “gay content,” the latters’s late work is worth reconsidering. First, what’s significant about it is that the artist was past his prime when he made it. The artworld had taken his cue and continued without him. Though canonical he became, he was in the margins later in life, overshadowed by younger artists who were invited to an increasing number of international surveys. Related to this, Rauschenberg’s work became collaborative in a way it hadn’t been before: it was a collaboration with his long-term partner Darryl Pottorf. Without knowledge of the true nature of the men’s relationship, such works don’t seem to matter beyond the fact that they have Rauschenberg’s signature on them. But on second look, you’ll notice within these works the nuance of love. They present the world through the eyes of two men in love, who, like lovers often do, traveled to faraway places. And that they traveled, where they went, what they documented, the juxtapositions, colors, themes, etc. reflect not so much a time as they do a life two people shared. In this manner, what was missing from Rauschenberg’s earlier work manifests later through the formal language for which the artist had become famous. His private life thus became public—hidden, so to speak, in plain view.