Two Retrospectives for Two Living Legends: Jasper Johns and Alex Katz

Jasper Johns 1930 -

Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.
– Jasper Johns, 1964

Jasper Johns is one of America's most beloved artists. His works focus on, he says, "things the mind already knows." His use of flags, targets and repeated colors and patterns, done in heavy layers of encaustic medium, give his work a rich, textural quality.


Born in Augusta, Georgia in 1930, Johns spent many of his formative years living in the rural south with his mother and other relatives. He had little exposure to art but, somehow, he spent much time drawing and knew that he wanted to be an artist. He studied briefly at the Parsons School of Design in New York before being drafted in the Army during the Korean War. In 1952 through 1953 he was stationed in Sendai, Japan, which certainly had an influence on his art. A master at etching and lithography, Johns has worked with the finest printmakers in both the U.S. and Europe. In the 1960s and 1970s, Johns exhibited his work and studied with master printers in Tokyo.


Jasper John's paintings have always garnered high prices from museums and at auction. In 1998, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York bought Johns's White Flag painting, but would not disclose how much was paid, The New York Times reported that experts estimated its value at more than $20 million. In 2010, another of his Flag paintings was sold to a private collector for $110 million.


The Whitney Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art have collaborated to put together a retrospective that spans the seven decades of the auspicious career of Jasper Johns. The exhibit includes nearly five hundred paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, working proofs, and monotypes, with both iconic pieces and previously unseen ones, as well as works from Johns's own collection, including the works by the Japanese artists he befriended in Tokyo.


Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror will run from September. 29, 2021 through February 13, 2022.


Alex Katz - 1927 -

Painting seems an old man's business. After a certain time you're out of it, and you just paint masterpieces. 
– Alex Katz

Alex Katz is 94, and has been painting masterpieces for more than seventy years. His highly stylized paintings and prints have made him a superstar in Europe where, he said, in a Financial Times interview last year, "people wait outside my hotel for autographs". Although he was born, raised and has lived and worked in New York all of his life, he hasn't had a major retrospective in his home town since a Whitney retrospective in 1986.


Katz is getting a major retrospective next year, and it promises to be a comprehensive, much deserved exhibit. The Alex Katz Retrospective is being presented by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. It will by on exhibit from October 14, 2022 through February 20, 2023.


Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Jasper Johns and Alex Katz available at Surovek Gallery.



Andrea K. Scott. Fall Art Preview. The New Yorker. August 6, 2021.
ArtFix Daily. A Lifetime Retrospective Dedicated to Jasper Johns Is On View Simultaneously in New York and Philadelphia This Fall. August 29, 2021.
Lucy Rees. Looking Back at Alex Katz's Remarkable Seven-Decade Career. Galerie Magazine. December 22, 2020.
Andy Battaglia. Guggenheim Museum to Mount Retrospective for Alex Katz, New York Painter Extraordinaire, in 2022. Artnews. January 17, 2020.
Tom McGlynn. Alex Katz: New Paintings and Sculptures. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2019.
Lou Stoppard. Alex Katz: the 'artist of the immediate' on why his time is now. The Financial Times. November 2, 2020.
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