(American, b. 1930)
Gift of Harvey and Penelope D. Buchanan in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of The Print Club of Cleveland 1979.125
© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Catalogue raisonné: Field ULAE 42
Jasper Johns (American, born 1930) Flags, 1968 Lithograph, edition 23/43 Gift of Harvey and Penelope D. Buchanan in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the Print Club of Cleveland 1979.125 Jasper Johns completed his first painting of the American flag in 1955, and since then he has used the image repeatedly to explore his interests in perception, language, and thought. A flag is a flat object, and by depicting it in two-dimensional media like painting, drawing, or, in this case, printmaking, Johns collapsed the normal gap that exists between the illusionistic representation of the three-dimensional world and the thing depicted. This print also emphasizes the viewer’s active role in looking by showing the flag in its complementary colors in the upper half and in a ghostly partial image below. Staring at the top image can produce an afterimage in the “correct” colors of red, white, and blue. But this optical game suggests the arbitrariness of language and symbols, which is an issue that permeates Johns’s body of work.
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