Wednesday, August 16, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Jasper Johns


Contemporary artist; painter and printer.
Jasper Johns
I have attempted to develop my thinking in such a way that the work I’ve done is not me – not to confuse my feelings with what I produced. I didn’t want my work to be an exposure of my feelings. Abstract Expressionism was so lively – personal identity and painting were more or less the same., and I tried to operate the same way. But I found I couldn’t do anything that would be identical with my feelings. So I worked in such a way that I could say that it’s not me. That accounts for the separation.
Johns quotes
As you [Tono] has written, people say that my works are 'neutral. But if you paint something, it is 'something', and it cannot be neutral. Being neutral is a mere expression of a form of intention.
Johns
Painting has a nature which is not entirely translatable into verbal language. I think painting is a language, actually. It’s linguistic in a sense, but not in a verbal sense. I think that one wants from painting a sense of life. And I think that is true. One wants to be able to use all of one’s facilities in all aspects of one’s life.. ..You may have to choose how to respond and you may respond in a limited way, but you have been aware that you are alive. The final suggestion, the final statement, has to be not a deliberate statement but a helpless statement.




Johns Jasper quotes
Sometimes I see it and then paint it. Other times I paint it and then see it. Both are impure situations, and I prefer neither. At every point in nature there is something to see. My work contains similar possibilities for the changing focus of the eye.
Johns Jasper
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.
Jasper Johns quotes
Object in/ and space – the first impulse may be to give the object – a position – to place the object. (The object had a position to begin with.) Next – to change the position of the object. – Rauschenberg’s early sculptures – A board with some rocks on it. The rocks can be anywhere on the board. - Cage’s Japanese rock garden – The rocks can be anywhere (within the garden)…
Jasper Johns
I made the flags and targets to open men’s eyes.. ..(they) were both things - which are seen and not looked at - examined. (on his flag-paintings, 1958)
Johns Jasper quotes
Marcel Duchamp, one of this century’s pioneers, moved his work through the retinal boundaries which had been established with Impressionism into a field where language, thought and vision act upon one another. There it changed form through a complex interplay of new mental and physical materials, heralding many of the technical, mental and visual details to be found in more recent art.. ..He declared that he wanted to kill art (“for myself”) but his persistent attempts to destroy frames of reference altered our thinking, established new units of thought, a “new thought for that object”.
Johns
To be an artist you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist.
Johns Jasper
His (Marcel Duchamp) idea was that anything could be art by focusing the mind to think of it as art. My images are similar but at the time my work was first being shown, 1958-'59, I was unfamiliar with Duchamp and Dada. Everyone said my work was Dada, so I read on it, went to Philadelphia to see the Arensberg Duchamp collection, was delighted by it and later met him (Duchamp).. ..But it was all more a coincidence. Perhaps it’s that certain ideas get into the air, ideas that come out of our living and out of the environment automatically
Jasper Johns
Everybody is of course free to interpret the work in his own way., I think seeing a picture is one thing and interpreting it is another.




Jasper Johns quotes
It all began with my painting a picture of an American flag. Using this design took care of a great deal for me because I didn’t have to design it. So I want on to similar things like the targets things the mind already knows. That gave me room to work on other levels. For instance, I’ve always thought of a painting as a surfqace; painting it in one color made this very clear.. ..A picture ought to be looked at the same way you look at a radiator.
Jasper Johns
I make what it pleases me to make.. ..I have no ideas about what the paintings imply about the world. I don’t think that’s a painter’s business. He just paints paintings without a conscious reason. I intuitively paint flags.
Johns quotes
What is meant by "the representation of space"? What distinguishes one representation from another? Does this mean "how does one see that one thing is not another thing?" What constitutes a change of focus?.. ..What about "another way of establishing (?) "thingness"? "Something" can be either one thing or another (without turning the rabbit on its side)..
Johns Jasper
I’m especially interested in the music of John Cage.. ..I would like to do some experimenting with the relationship between his freeform sound and free-form art.
Johns Jasper quotes
Bend color names which should be made of neon or copper tubing. Place an object on a surface – trace the object – then bend the object – leaving some part of it attached.
Jasper Johns
Cubism is an anatomical chart of a way of seeing external objects. But I want to confuse the meaning of the act of looking.
Jasper Johns quotes
An invisible drawing made in the air. Make a drawing behind your back. Make a stolen painting.
Jasper Johns
I don’t want my work to be an exposure of my feelings.
Johns Jasper
The relationship between the object & the event. Can they 2 be separated? Is one a detail of the other? What is the meeting? Air?


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