Jasper Johns

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Flag; from Lead relief series 1969

© Jasper Johns. VAGA/Copyright Agency Purchased 1973

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At a time when the emotionally-charged paintings of Abstract Expressionism dominated the American avant-garde, Jasper Johns began to reframe everyday objects and symbols as valid subjects for fine art. Drawing influence from the traditions of Dada—particularly the absurdist humour and use of ready-made subject matter—his work was identified with the Neo-Dada movement and became a foundation for American Pop art.

Johns was interested in the idea of reproducibility and he constantly appropriated his own work, returning to motifs time and again across different media. The Lead relief series 1969–70 reconstructs some of his most iconic and recurrent motifs—the American flag, a lightbulb and numerals—in editions of embossed lead sheets.

Alice Desmond