Jasper Johns American
Published by Gemini G.E.L. American

Not on view

Since the mid-1950s, Johns has focused on everyday icons and emblems, or what the artist famously referred to as “things the mind already knows.” A key motif is the alphabet: Johns has repeatedly used letters, either depicted individually or layered atop one another, to address modes of perception and knowledge. In Alphabet, he portrays all twenty-six letters, superimposed in alphabetical order. Because of the number and complexity of the various forms, which are tangled and intertwined, Alphabet becomes a nearly abstract composition. The letters, which evoke those in Leonardo's celebrated Divina proportione, have an elegant yet impersonal feel and appear as if stenciled, thus signaling both an absence of the artist’s touch and the official information-granting capacity in which letters in such forms are employed.

Alphabet, Jasper Johns (American, born Augusta, Georgia, 1930), Lithograph

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