Friday, May 24, 2013




  Jasper Johns

The Flag:

Johns’ first use of the flag motif was the result of a dream the artist had in 1954 when he was 24 years old. Flag was exhibited in Johns’ first one-man show at Leo Castelli’s gallery in 1958 and is now located at MoMA in New York. Since that time, Johns has created more than 100 flags in various media, in a variety of sizes, as a single flag or in multiples, and depicted it in black & white, greys, in oranges and greens and in the traditional red, white and blue.  

“… the flag seems special. He returns to it again and again as a musician returns to a favorite theme or set of chords, a poet to a particular meter, or as Rembrandt did to his own ageing physiognomy.”

A notoriously enigmatic artist, Johns has remained tight-lipped regarding any possible socio-political associations with his repeated depictions of flags, making any such interpretation the responsibility of the viewer. While the United States flag is a powerfully loaded symbol in the collective American consciousness and around the world, Johns’ intentions in creating these works are non-symbolic. Instead, he is concerned with their formal stylistic structure, “Because what’s interesting to me is the fact that it isn’t designed, but taken. It’s not mine.”2  As something "the mind already knows," the motif of the flag provided Johns with a ready-made composition and allowed Johns to create meaning through other avenues, such as the physicality of his surfaces, in his process of making marks and in his choice of medium. 




The painting of a flag is always about a flag, but it is no more about a flag than about a brushstroke, or about the physicality of paint.

.... Jasper Johns  ....

1 comment:

  1. This is very informative and interesting for me. Thank you for such a wonderful post about American Flag Patch and for sharing. God bless you.