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Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’

Graduation

Jasper Johns is one of my favorite artists – quintessentially American, absolutely provocative and yet unusually quiet about his work.  He has a reputation for saying very little about what he does, which leaves interpretation to the viewer.  As much as I love his work, I love his persona.

Jasper Johns has a new show at the Met (called “Gray”, through May 4th) and a new exhibition of drawings at Matthew Marks Gallery (“Drawings 1997-2007” through April 12th) in Chelsea. There’s a lovely piece about him by Carol Vogel in yesterday’s New York Times. Some highlights (that tickled my tummy!) from Carol Vogel’s article:

♦  “Mr. Johns seems to have perfected the art of talking about his work without ever revealing too much. Always courtly, he answers questions in a measured, seemingly straightforward manner that leaves a listener wanting to know far more. It’s as if he is aware that a myth surrounds him that he must be careful not to dispel.”

♦   “For decades now his interpretation of flags and targets, numbers and letters — things, as he has often said, ‘the mind already knows,’ ‘things that were seen and not looked at, not examined’ — have become as embedded in the contemporary American art psyche.”

♦  “Predecessor Mark Rothko impatiently dismissed Mr. Johns’s targets and flags, saying, ‘We worked for years to get rid of all that.'”

♦  “He often executes drawings after he finishes a canvas, rather than before. ‘To do a drawing for a painting most often means doing something very sketchy and schematic and then later making it polished,’ he said. ‘It’s done out of a different kind of energy. I love drawings, so I’ve always enjoyed making drawings that exist on their own.'”

♦ “Born in 1930 in Augusta, Ga., and raised in Allendale, S.C., he received his early education in a one-room schoolhouse in rural South Carolina.”

♦ “About 60 years after he first arrived in New York, Mr. Johns is still very much the Southern gentleman. He retains his accent and his soft-spokenness. Yet his quiet demeanor and his six-foot frame make him intimidating at first; he chooses his words with such care that a questioner is tempted to do likewise.”

♦ “Each year, as soon as the temperature begins to plummet in Connecticut, he decamps to his house [in Saint Martin], joining his two resident dogs, Pepper and Pumpkin — both were found abandoned on the island — to work, garden, read, cook and do crossword puzzles.”

♦ “Asked what influence he feels he may have had on young artists, Mr. Johns paused. ‘To me,’ he said, ‘self-description is a calamity.'”

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