Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jasper Johns

Three Flags (1958)

Note in response to my more alert star-counting blog followers:
In 1958 (date of art work above) there were still only 48 states!

Jasper Johns, a native of South Carolina, moved to New York City in 1953 after a stint in the Army, in search of a career in the arts. Within ten years he was considered the greatest living American artist. He rebelled against the abstract expressionist movement of the time, deciding to paint ordinary, recognizable objects, such as flags and numerals.

He soon fell in love with an older fellow artist, Robert Rauschenberg (on right in photo at left), who became his mentor and inspiration. They had met while working together creating window displays for Tiffany’s. Lovers from 1955 to 1961, they lived and worked together during that time, but Johns and Rauschenberg parted after just six years because of their uneasiness with being recognized as a couple publicly. Their breakup was so acrimonious that they both left New York City and didn't speak to one another for more than a decade.

Johns became increasingly reclusive and eventually moved to an estate in Sharon, Connecticut, where he lives to this day. He has another home on the island of Saint Martin. Rauschenberg died in 2008. 

On February 15, 2011, Jasper Johns received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, becoming the first painter or sculptor to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom since Alexander Calder in 1977.


  1. WOW you live in Andrew Nixon town

  2. Do you know Jasper Mounbatten or Paul UK Tank Park ?

  3. We are related to him through my grandmother Virginia Johns Parker. Id love to talk to him about their time together and let my kids talk to him but I don't know how to find him