Nov 15, 2023 — Continuing
Internationally acclaimed as America’s most important living artist, Jasper Johns (born 1930) grew up in South Carolina, where he lived variously in Allendale, Columbia, and Sumter. After attending the University of South Carolina for about a year, he moved to New York City, where his spectacularly successful career was launched.
Johns’s early work featured enigmatic renderings of targets, numerals, and flags, subjects that, the artist claimed, “the mind already knows.” Over time, his compositions grew more complex and evocative of personal issues. Broadly speaking, during a career of 70 years, Johns has explored how marks become symbols, which in turn become language that serves as a vehicle for meaning and emotion: all subject to the singular interpretation of the beholder.
One of the few contemporary painters who has equally mastered a multitude of printmaking techniques—included here are examples of lithography, woodcut, intaglio, silkscreen, and monotype—Johns frequently explores his themes across an impressive variety of media.
The exhibition’s title is taken from one of the artist’s comments about his own working habits, captured in a 1990 interview with The Washington Post. Throughout this installation are more notations, comments, and quips from the artist that are as equally challenging, provocative, and potentially enlightening as his subject matter.
This selection of prints represents approximately one-fourth of the GCMA holdings of Jasper Johns’s work—including paintings in oil, acrylic, and encaustic, watercolors, drawings, and sculptural editions that together trace the evolution of his brilliant career. We are grateful to the donors who have made this collection possible.