Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting, 1955-1965

Overview

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is one of the most significant figures in the history of postwar art. His work from 1955 to 1965 was pivotal, exercising an enormous impact on the subsequent development of pop, minimalism, and conceptual art in the United States and Europe. This is the first publication to approach Johns’s work of this ten-year period through a thematic framework. It examines the artist's interest in the condition of painting as a medium, a practice, and an instrument of encoded meaning through several ...

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Overview

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is one of the most significant figures in the history of postwar art. His work from 1955 to 1965 was pivotal, exercising an enormous impact on the subsequent development of pop, minimalism, and conceptual art in the United States and Europe. This is the first publication to approach Johns’s work of this ten-year period through a thematic framework. It examines the artist's interest in the condition of painting as a medium, a practice, and an instrument of encoded meaning through several interrelated motifs: the target, the “device,” the naming of colors, and the imprint of the body.
In this handsome book, leading scholars, a conservator, and a contemporary artist consider Johns’s activity in this critical decade and discuss many of his iconic paintings, such as Target with Four Faces (1955), Diver (1962), Periscope (Hart Crane) (1963), and Arrive-Depart (1963). Their new critical and historical perspectives are grounded in an unusually close visual and material analysis of Johns's work.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Accompanying an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (showing through April 29, 2007, and then traveling to the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland), this beautiful catalog (80 halftones; 180 color), featuring many previously unpublished archival photographs and artworks, serves as the only publication to examine the work of the painter, sculptor, and printmaker Jasper Johns during the pivotal years of his career. From 1955 to 1965, Johns explored the condition of painting as a medium, practice, and instrument when abstract expressionism called into question traditional paradigms related to painting, pictorial space, and the representation of the human figure. In the main essay, exhibition curator Weiss sets forth his analysis of major motifs in Johns's work. The essays that follow provide deeper insights into the artist's creative processes, intentions, and meanings. There is an exploration of the influence of Paul Cézanne and a detailed discussion of Johns's masterpiece Diver (1962). Not a survey for beginners, this sufficiently well-documented, expertly crafted, thoughtful, reasonably comprehensive, and highly focused study belongs in most research-oriented art book collections.
—Cheryl Ann Lajos

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300121414
  • Publisher: National Gallery of Art
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Weiss is Curator and Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. John Elderfield is Chief Curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Carol Mancusi-Ungaro is Director of Conservation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Robert Morris is an American artist and contemporary of Johns. Kathryn Tuma is Assistant Professor of Modern Art at Johns Hopkins University.

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