Jasper Johns: 2020 Retrospective at The Whitney

Jasper Johns will celebrate his 89th birthday in a few weeks. He’ll probably spend the day drawing and painting in his studio in Sharon, Connecticut.

Jasper Johns, December 2018

“He has been one of the primary architects of the contemporary art world, and has also opted out of its social trappings entirely.” wrote M.H. Miller, arts editor of the New York Times Style Magazine.  “For decades, he has divided his time between quiet towns along the East Coast and a remote retreat designed by Philip Johnson in St. Martin. Now, he rarely leaves Connecticut. The curator John Elderfield has called him “the hermit of Sharon.”

Johns has never been one to talk about his work, although much has been written, and speculated about, their meanings and his process.

One of the things that set Jasper Johns apart from his contemporaries like Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstien was Johns’ lack of art training, and even the absence of exposure to art as a child.

Jasper Johns’s paintbrushes and a da Vinci poster in his Sharon, Connecticut studio
Credit: Joel Sternfeld

Abandoned by his parents after their divorce, he was raised by his Aunt Gladys in rural South Carolina. “In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art, so I really didn’t know what that meant. I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different than the one that I was in.”

Somehow, Johns managed to complete three semesters at the University of South Carolina, move to New York, study for a short time at the Parsons School of Design and go on to create a body of work that set the New York art world on fire and set record prices at auction.

It may have been his lack of training, with no learned constraints, that allowed him to create the textured, iconic paintings that dramatically changed the way artists approached a blank canvas.

Jasper Johns Printmaking

Since 1960, Jasper Johns has been using lithography and other printmaking techniques in a way that enables him to keep the color and recognizable surface quality of his works.

Jasper Johns
Cicada, 1981
Lithograph printed in colors
26 5/8 x 20 3/8 inches
Edition 4/58
Signed in pencil, dated and numbered
For sale at the Surovek Gallery

Printmaking allows Johns to explore and develop his works, using the repeated images he often presents to viewers.

Jasper Johns
Target with Plaster Casts, 1979-1980
Etching and aquatint in colors, on Rives BFK paper, with full margins
29 1/2 x 22 inches
Edition: 59/88
Signed, dated and numbered: Johns ‘80
For sale at the Surovek Gallery

Jasper Johns Major Retrospective at the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The works that Johns has been working on for the last five years were recently exhibited at the Matthew Marks Gallery in Manhattan.

Jasper Johns
Untitled, 2018.

Jasper Johns: Recent Paintings & Works on Paper was a testament to the artists’ continuing ability to keep his work fresh, interesting and open to still more speculation.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the Whitney Museum has partnered with the Philadelphia Museum of Art to hold a joint exhibit. Making use of Johns’ repetition of themes and images, the works in each venue will complement one another.

The exhibit is currently being curated and will open in the fall of 2020.

Jasper Johns Fine Prints at the Surovek Gallery

Cicada and Target with Plaster Casts are just two of the fine art prints of Jasper Johns available at the Surovek Gallery. Please contact us if you would like more information about any of works for sale in our gallery.

See Jasper Johns Artwork in Our Gallery

References:
Alfred Mac Adam. Jasper Johns: Recent Paintings & Works on Paper. Brooklyn Rail. April 2019.
M.H. Miller. Jasper Johns, American Legend. The New York Times Style Magazine. February 18, 2019.
Hanya Yanagihara. T’s Men’s Fashion Issue: The Hours. The New York Times Style Magazine. March 1, 2019.
Peter Schjeldahl. Jasper Johns and the Question of Meaning. The New Yorker. February  25, 2019.
John Yau. Jasper Johns’ Messengers of Aging and Mortality. Hyperallergic. February 17, 2019.
https://www.whitney.org/exhibitions/jasper-johns
2019-05-06T08:52:36-04:00

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