The radical, inventive art of Jasper Johns (b. 1930) continues to influence today’s artists like few others. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will stage a simultaneous retrospective—the largest of Johns’s seven-decade career—that offers a fresh take on the living legend. From his iconic flags to lesser-known and recent works, the exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints—nearly five hundred artworks across the two museums, many of which are from Johns’s personal collection and will be shown publicly for the first time.
Inspired by the artist’s long-standing fascination with mirroring and doubles, each half of the exhibition will act as a reflection of the other, inviting viewers to look closely to discover the themes, methods, and coded visual language that echo across the two venues. A visit to either museum will provide a vivid chronological survey; a visit to both will offer an innovative and immersive exploration of the many phases, masterworks, and mysteries of Johns’s still-evolving career.
Born in Augusta, Georgia in 1930, Jasper Johns (b.1930) grew up in South Carolina. After a short stint at Parsons School of Design in New York City, he joined the Army (1953). He returned to New York City, developing a close friendship with fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg, the composer, John Cage, and dancer/choreographer, Merce Cunningham, among others. Now, at the age of 91, he has a home and studio in Sharon, Connecticut, and a house on the island of St. Martin. Johns was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
This exhibition is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The organizing curators are Carlos Basualdo, Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, with Sarah B. Vogelman, exhibition assistant, in Philadelphia, and Lauren Young, curatorial assistant, in New York.
Hear directly from the curators in an introductory video (above) to the exhibition. Carlos Basualdo, Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator at the Whitney, share how the monumental retrospective came together.
Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror will be on view from September 29, 2021 to February 13, 2022. The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street in the historic Meatpacking District, NYC.
Read more on “The Meaning of Jasper Johns” from Stephen Mooallem at Harpers Bazaar.