Jasper Johns (1930 - ), who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in February of this year - the first American artist to have done so since Alexander Calder in 1977 - is an artist whose work most of us are familiar with. We've all seen it or the heavy influence of it at one time or another - if not the actual Johns creation, then the secondary work done by illustrators and graphic designers inspired by Johns over the years. I immediately thought of Johns' use of classical iconography - his American Flag paintings, when I was deciding on what painter to focus on for Saturday Salon on this most American of holidays.
Last week, we had John Sloan, painter of daily American city life in the first half of the 20th century. Today we have Jasper Johns, a painter and print maker who, in his major work, makes use of iconic American symbols in an often complex new way. In this work, Johns asks us to look at those very familiar symbols with a fresh eye.
Today, Jasper Johns remains at the forefront of American art. His work is represented in almost all major museums. I was fortunate enough to have seen several of his pieces in NYC once upon a time at MOMA.
Please go here for a quick overview.
In-depth talk here about his work.
A view of some of Johns' work kept by MOMA.
Johns' work at the Whitney Museum.