Jasper Johns is an acclaimed American painter and printermaker. He was born on May 15, 1930 in Augusta, Georgia. His parents split up when he was young, at which point he moved to nearby Allendale, South Carolina to live with his paternal grandparents. From there, he bounced around quite a bit, living with various members. Next, he moved to Columbia, South Carolina to live with his mother, and then went to live with his Aunt Gladys in Lake Murray, a short drive away. Jasper Johns admits that, as a child, there were not really any artists or even art around, so he was not exactly sure what art entailed, or even what it looked like. Specifically, he was quoted as saying “In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art, so I really didn’t know what that meant. I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different than the one that I was in.”
Between the years of 1947 and 1948, Jasper Johns studied three semesters at the University of South Carolina, located in Columbia. From there, he moved to New York City, where he studied at the Parsons School of Design in 1949. In the early 1950s (1952 – 1953) Johns was stationed in Sendai, Japan during the Korean War.
After the war, Johns moved back to his beloved New York City, where he met Robert Rauschenburg, and the two began a long term love affair. At this point in time, Jasper John was greatly influenced by the power couple of famed choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage. Together, they began collaborating on their art and exploring the wildly popular contemporary art scene. In the late 1950s, Johns was discovered by Leo Castelli, who owned his own gallery, while he was visiting the studio of Robert Rauschenburg. Leo Castelli gave Johns his first solo show, which actually turned out to be his big break.
It was at this show that Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, purchased four pieces by Johns. Later, in the early 1960s, Cage and Johns came together to form the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, which has since become the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.
Jasper Johns lived in New York until 2012. Today, Johns spends his time living in Connecticut and on the tropical island of Saint Martin.
Jasper Johns Artwork
Johns is noted for his works in various mediums, including painting, sculpture, prints, collaborations, and more. He has received plenty of recognition and accolades throughout his career, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. He is the first painter to receive such an honor since the late 1970s. Some of the more well known artwork by Jasper Johns includes the following:
White Flag (1955)
Target with Plaster Casts (1955)
Target with Four Faces (1955)
Numbers in Color (1958–59)
False Start (1959)
Three Flags (1958)
Painting With Two Balls (1960)
Painted Bronze (1960)
Study for Skin (1962)
Periscope (Hart Crane) (1963)
Figure Five (1963–64)
The Critic Sees (1964)
Tantric Detail (1980)
Perilous Night (1982)
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