Biography of Jasper Johns
A master painter and printmaker, Jasper Johns was born in 1930 and burst on the art scene in the late 1950s with his first flag and target works, paving the way for conceptual art in his semiotic and perceptual exploration of signs and symbols. Referencing in his work “things the mind already knows”, his imagery may be quotidian in nature, featuring familiar objects such as ale cans or the American flag, but they bring with them a whole host of associations that the artist can then manipulate and play with.
Alongside his former lover, the artist Robert Rauschenberg, and his friends choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage, Jasper Johns is also seen as one of the fathers of Pop Art and its embrace of consumer culture with his playful appropriation of household brands and products. His work breaks down the divide between high and low culture, fine art and the everyday, and moves away from the abstraction of the first half of the 20th century—reaching its peak in Abstract Expressionism—to become one of the pioneers of postmodern art practices.
Jasper Johns has a prolific output of limited edition prints and multiples, producing near on 300 etchings, lithographs, and screenprints since the 60s. He has had major retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, MoMA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Johns has also received many awards including the Golden Lion at the 1988 Venice Biennale and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011—the first artist in 34 years to be honored with this distinction. He currently lives and works between Connecticut and Saint Martin.