Exhibition | Jasper Johns

Mar 30, 2016 — Sep 18, 2016

Jasper Johns is the world’s most critically acclaimed living artist. His work bridges the immediate post-World War II modernist trends of Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism with subsequent movements of the 1960s, including Pop art, Minimalism, and Conceptual art. While his reputation is international, Johns has deep roots in South Carolina. Born in 1930, he grew up in Allendale, the Columbia area, and Sumter; he attended the University of South Carolina for three semesters before moving to New York to pursue his career in art.

As a young artist, Johns narrowed his subjects to commonplace objects, “things the mind already knows,” but in later years he introduced more personal images of objects he has collected, including his father’s watch and a family photograph, as well as a shadow of himself. He has also adapted imagery from many other artists, including Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Edvard Munch, and Leonardo da Vinci. 

Drawn from the Museum’s extensive holdings of the artist’s work, Jasper Johns includes both original works along with prints. Throughout his career, Johns has recast his flags, targets, and other borrowed subjects, and in the process he has transformed both the images and their potential meaning. For example, his early target alluded to the pattern that draws the eye to its center. The target later became a circular smear of paint—a blurred visual memory of gesture and speed. Through repetition and re-contextualization, Johns rejuvenates his work and refocuses our attention.