Jasper Johns

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About the Artist

Jasper Johns (born May 15, 1930, Augusta, Ga., U.S.) is an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He began his career as a commercial artist, producing displays for New York City shop windows. In 1958 he had his first one-man exhibition, a rousing success. The paintings Johns went on to produce depict commonplace, two-dimensional subjects such as flags, targets, maps, numbers, and letters of the alphabet. He was able to raise these objects to the level of icons through his paint handling and manipulation of surface texture, which he obtained through the encaustic technique. In their willful and ironic banality and their rejection of emotional expression, these early works were a radical departure from the then-dominant Abstract Expressionist style. Johns's unabashed depiction of commonplace emblems and objects was emulated by many Pop art artists. From 1961 he began to attach real objects to his canvases. In the 1970s he produced paintings composed of clusters of parallel lines that he called "crosshatchings"; in the 1980s he experimented with figuration.