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Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns

*  1930 Augusta

Jasper Johns is a leading exponent of American Pop art. His representations of letters, numerals, targets and flags in a simple, clear pictorial idiom represent benchmarks in contemporary art and laid the groundwork for American Minimalism as well as Pop art.
Born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1930 in Augusta, Jasper Johns grew up in South Carolina but left the Southern States for New York when he was twenty-two in order to pursue his childhood dream of becoming an artist. In New York Johns met a great many artists from various fields, including Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Merce Cunningham, with whom he retained close intellectual ties. In 1954/55 Johns produced his seminal painting 'Flag', a work consisting of collaged newspaper cuttings overpainted in multiple layers. Johns subsequently abandoned the house paint he had been using for wax-based paints that dried far more quickly. This type of paint enabled him to layer his brush strokes rapidly without destroying the autonomy of each layer. It became the hallmark of Johns's work. the breakthrough came for Jasper Johns in 1958, when he had his first one-man show at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, which had just opened. Jasper Johns's work was shown at the Venice Biennale and four [[nicht drei!!]] of his paintings were bought by the Museum of Modern Art. Johns was by then the talk of the art scene. However, after his gallery début, Johns began to switch to another style of painting and it, too, brought him universal acclaim. He continued the formal strategies of American Abstract Expressionism, painting what was often a non-representational picture field with aggressive, sometimes bunched, brush strokes in white, black, grey, the three primary colours and their immediate derivatives. The painting process as such now became more important to Johns than external signs. His interest in the process character of painting led Jasper Johns to printmaking in the early 1960s. The working process matched his delight in experimenting and encouraged him to introduce crucial innovations to serigraphy, lithography and etching. Jasper Johns's style of painting changed again in the 1980s. Autobiographical material and realistic figuration now gained in importance. A key motif of Johns's approach to art is the practice of introducing a new style of painting while turning to earlier motifs in his prints, repeating, them, mirroring them and working them out in series. Over the past fifty years Johns has created a vast and complex œuvre, which is represented in all major museums and collections of 20th-century art. Jasper Johns still lives and works in New York.