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Unformatted text preview: Jasper Johns Jasper Johns grew up in Allendale, South Carolina, and recounting this period in his life, he says, "In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art, so I really didn't know what that meant. I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different than the one that I was in." Johns studied at the University of South Carolina from 1947 to 1948, a total of three semesters. He then moved to New York and studied briefly at Parsons School of Design in 1949. While in New York, Johns met Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Working together they explored the contemporary art scene, and began developing their ideas on art. In 1952 and 1953 he was stationed in Sendai, Japan during the Korean War. In 1958, the gallery owner Leo Castelli visited the studio of Robert Rauschenberg and, during this visit, discovered Johns . In the late 1950's, Jasper Johns emerged as force in the American art scene. His richly worked paintings of maps, flags, and targets led the artistic community away from Abstract Expressionism toward a new emphasis on the concrete. Johns laid the groundwork for both Pop Art and Minimalism. Today, as his prints and paintings set record prices at auction, the meanings of his paintings, his imagery, and his changing style continue to be subjects of controversy He is best known for his painting Flag (195455). His work is often described as a 'NeoDadaist', as opposed to Pop Art, even though his subject matter often includes images and objects from popular culture. Still, many compilations on Pop Art include Jasper Johns as a Pop Artist because of his artistic use of classical iconography. For example, his flag paintings create new depth and texture to the American Flag. Early works were composed using simple schema such as flags, maps, targets, letters and numbers. Johns' treatment of the surface is often lush and painterly; he is famous for incorporating such media as (waxbased paint), and plaster relief in his paintings. Johns played with and presented opposites, contradictions,or paradoxes, and ironies, The modern art community was searching for new ideas to succeed the pure emotionality of the Abstract Expressionists. Johns' paintings of targets, maps, invited both the wrath and praise of critics. Johns' early work combined a serious concern for the craft of painting with an everyday, almost absurd, subject matter. The meaning of the painting could be found in the painting process itself. It was a new experience for gallery goers to find paintings solely of such things as flags and numbers. The simplicity and familiarity of the subject matter piqued viewer interest in both Johns' motivation and his process. Johns explains, "There may or may not be an idea, and the meaning may just be that the painting exists." One of the great influences on Johns was the writings of Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In Wittgenstein's work Johns recognized both a concern for logic, and a desire to investigate the times when logic breaks down. It was through painting that Johns found his own process for trying to understand logic. The Target Signifies war or protest Flag The Field The met ...
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- Spring '07