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Wednesday 02.20.08

« On Form (or from Polykleitos to Janine Antoni) | Main | Limelight Curator Talk »

Considering Johns in Gray

Jasper Johns Between the Clock and the Bed, 1982-83 Encaustic on canvas (three panels) Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Photo: Jamie M. Stukenberg/Professional Graphics Inc., Rockford, Illinois

Jasper Johns is one of my all-time favorite artists and unlike Richard Prince he tells jokes so great they become poetry before they become punchlines (Prince starts with the punchline and then tries to reverse engineer them). Sadly, Im not all that convinced by Johns' later work but I consider paintings like "Between the Clock and the Bed" to be great art. It is a cypher of space and a semipermiable abstraction... like the sea it doesnt give up its secrets or it's dead. Im not afraid to utter the dreaded term "great" in the presence of a body of work like this. In Portland we are intimately acquainted with the color gray so the Jasper Johns: Gray show at the Met is of special interest... that and we still have tons of encaustic painters here.

Jerry Saltz has a wonderful wonderful take on the Met's current Johns show.

Donald Kuspit's take is dense and possibly a tad turgid on Artnet (with some great show photos worth checking out).

Roberta Smith's take on Johns is worthwhile too (as always) .

PORT's own Arcy Douglass wrote on Johns last year here.

Carol Vogel generally leaves me disappointed and her personal look at Johns is no exception... where is Kimmelman (the Times chief hagiographer) when you need him?... Europe! Hagiography has its place (though it isn't a replacement for critique).

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 20, 2008 at 10:59 | Comments (0)


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