Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

Was Twombly hetero-normalized too?

Pin It

Our apologies for the technology issues that have kept me from posting and that have kept many of you accessing MAN in the last week or so — and especially yesterday. We should be back to normal. Thanks much.

The best thing I read this past weekend — heck, in many weekends — was this essay by Philip Kennicott in the Washington Post. It smartly holds art museums to account for their institutional squeamishness with artists who are gay and art that addresses homosexuality. It is an absolute must-read.

The combination of Kennicott’s piece and Cy Twombly‘s death on Tuesday reminded me of the critical and journalistic response to Robert Rauschenberg‘s death in 2008: As I noted here on MAN, almost every major newspaper and magazine in America was unwilling to say that Rauschenberg was a pioneer in what was becoming known as gay liberation. While Kennicott writes of hetero-normalizing in art museums, it’s there in journalism about art too.

Several readers emailed me to ask if Twombly was hetero-normalized too. Yes and no. Rauschenberg’s art, which often included or addressed his biography and his sexual orientation, positioned him on the vanguard of gay lib. Twombly’s not so much. I don’t think the two situations are completely analogous.

Twombly obits/appreciations:

Pin It


  1. […] Hetero-normalizing discussion:  Of Twombly,  of Rauschenberg.  Philip Kennicot’s Wall St Journal  essay on the institutional art […]

  2. […] Was Twombly hetero-normalized too? – Galleries, currators, and arts journalists seem to find acknowledging an artist's sexual orientation taboo. It's like the art-equivalent of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell. C'mon people, aren't we more progressive than that? (art LGBT Cy-Twombly artist ) […]

Add a Comment