I was just reading in the New York Times a review of a show of Robert Rauschenberg drawings. They are the beautiful "transfer" drawings, where he took images from magazines, soaked them in solvent, and then rubbed them onto paper.
When I was studying painting at Parsons (1981, I was twenty and had just moved to New York), Rauschenberg was a favorite of mine, along with Jasper Johns. But especially Rauschenberg. I got interested in collage because of my fascination with his work, especially the transfer drawings.
Very recently, I was reading another article, probably in the Times, either about Rauschenberg or Johns I can't remember which, in which they were referred to as long-term partners, or lovers, something like that. It was an incidental detail in a story about something else. As if everyone knew that. Maybe they do now. But I had no idea, especially not back then when I admired them so much. When I was aping their work.
That would have made a difference to me. It's hard to say exactly how knowing that my favorite artist was a homosexual would have affected my sense of myself as an artist, would have affected the trajectory of my life as an artist, but I know it would have, and I felt cheated and hurt to discover that it had been kept from me all these years.