Jasper Johns

An Allegory of Painting, 1955-1965

Jeffrey Weiss; With John Elderfield, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Robert Morris, and Kathryn A. Tuma

View Inside Price: $80.00

February 28, 2007
296 pages, 8 x 11 1/2
80 halftones + 170 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300121414

Published in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is one of the most significant figures in the history of postwar art. His work from 1955 to 1965 was pivotal, exercising an enormous impact on the subsequent development of pop, minimalism, and conceptual art in the United States and Europe. This is the first publication to approach Johns’s work of this ten-year period through a thematic framework. It examines the artist's interest in the condition of painting as a medium, a practice, and an instrument of encoded meaning through several interrelated motifs: the target, the “device,” the naming of colors, and the imprint of the body.
In this handsome book, leading scholars, a conservator, and a contemporary artist consider Johns’s activity in this critical decade and discuss many of his iconic paintings, such as Target with Four Faces (1955), Diver (1962), Periscope (Hart Crane) (1963), and Arrive-Depart (1963). Their new critical and historical perspectives are grounded in an unusually close visual and material analysis of Johns's work.

Jeffrey Weiss is Curator and Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. John Elderfield is Chief Curator of the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.  Carol Mancusi-Ungaro is Director of Conservation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Robert Morris is an American artist and contemporary of Johns. Kathryn Tuma is Assistant Professor of Modern Art at Johns Hopkins University.


National Gallery of Art, Washington (January 28 – April 29, 2007)

Kunstmuseum Basel (June 2 – September 9, 2007)

"[This] discussion of Johns's art-making process . . . has enough detail and richly reproduced artwork to make it a winning, illuminating addition to any art library."—Publishers Weekly

"High-quality, color illustrations are provided throughout, along with good black-and-white illustrations, particularly those of the artist at work. The pictures are so good you could buy the book for them alone. Included are a catalogue and a checklist with date, physical description, measurements, owner and small pictures of all the 91 works in the exhibition. . . . Anyone interested in Johns's art will be fascinated."—William L. Whitwell, Roanoke Times

"This beautiful catalog, featuring many previously unpublished archival photographs and artworks, serves as the only publication to examine the work of the painter, sculptor, and printmaker Jasper Johns during the pivotal years of his career. . . . [A] well-documented, expertly crafted, thoughtful . . . comprehensive, and highly focused study."—Library Journal

"This legant publication will provide the definitive account of the first decade (1955-65) of the career of the painter Johns. . . . Highly recommended. Upper division undergraduates; faculty."—Choice