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Jasper Johns

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He (Robert Rauschenberg, fh) was a kind of enfant terrible at the time (around 1960, fh) and I thought of him as an accomplished professional. He’d already had a number of shows, knew everybody, had been to Black Mountain College in South Carolina, working with all those avant-garde people.. ..Rauschenberg focused very much on working. I was prepared to do that, too. He was also involved with Merce Cunningham dance group and totally unconcerned with his success, in the cliché term. All of the activity had a lively quality, quite separate from any commercial situation.. ..(Rauschenberg moved into a loft in John’s building and they very closely worked together for a couple of years, fh) You get a lot by doing. It’s very important for a young artist to see how things are done. The kind of exchange we had was stronger than talking. If you do something then I do something then you do something, it means more than what you say.
Once Established, says Jasper Johns...,Grace Glueck, New York Times, 16 October 1977, sec. 2 pp. 1-31

Jasper Johns

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Merce (Cunningham, fh) is my favorit artist in any field. Sometimes I’m pleased by the complexity of a work I paint. By the fourth day I realize it’s simple. Nothing Merce does (choreography for dance, fh) is simple. Everything has a fascinating richness and multiplicity of direction. (Johns did a lot of décors for Cunningham, as Robert Rauschenberg did and Frank Stella, fh)

Jasper Johns

I met him (Cunningham, fh) around 1953 after a performance I saw. He was teaching and making dances for his company and was already working with John Cage. What interested me initially wasn’t just the movement but also the music he worked with, which was unfamiliar to me.. ..Later Bob Rauschenberg had been doing sets and costumes for the Cunningham Company.. ..I can’t say exactly how, but for a period of time, Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg, and I saw each other frequently and exchanged ideas. John was very interested in presenting his ideas to other people, so it was impossible to be around and not to learn.. ..He could apply his ideas on space and time to painting, or music or architecture.. ..I don’t have a clear sense of cause and effect in my painting, but it is probably there.

Jasper Johns

The time has probably come to admit that the notion of an avant-garde is no longer useful in discussing contemporary literature. How can there be an avant-garde without a mainstream? Avant-garde de quoi? one must ask. Establishment institutions — universities, museums, foundations, commercial galleries, even the state — have embraced the idea of experimental art for so long that the avant-garde is now a safely domesticated concept, just another traditional style.

Dana Gioia

Over the past thirty years, Ionesco has been called a “tragic clown,” the “Shakespeare of the Absurd,” the “Enfant Terrible of the Avant-Garde,” and the “Inventor of the Metaphysical Farce” — epithets that point to his evolution from a young playwright at a tiny Left Bank theater to an esteemed member of the Académie Française.

Eugene Ionesco

I’ve been educated in some pretty lively barrooms, like the Cedar Bar in New York. And I went to high school with Frank Stella and when he got out of college he went to New York and started painting… …I was working with sculpture in a kind of dilatory way, and he said to come up and work in his tiny loft when he wasn’t there. At the same time I sort of dabbled in a little bit of painting, and a kind of confusion.I was an eye, ear, nose, and throat person too... ...One day Frank Stella just said to me, “Look, if you paint another painting I’m going to cut off your hands.” I asked, “Can’t I become a good painter?” Frank said, “No, because you are a good sculptor now.” That’s really my formal education... ...the company of artists is the great education. We educate each other. I’ve learned from older, wiser people by the old Greek method of sitting down and drinking with them. And that’s how I received my education.

Carl Andre
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