NYC-ARTS

S2021 E536 | CLIP

Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror at The Whitney

The Whitney, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, presents "Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror," a retrospective of nearly five hundred artworks. The title of the exhibition showcases Johns’ fascination with mirroring and doubles, a theme that has captivated the now 91-year-old artist throughout his seven-decade career.

AIRED: November 18, 2021 | 0:06:41
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

♪♪♪

AT STAGE 24, JESTER JOHNS

PAINTED THE WORK HE WOULD BE

KNOWN FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE.

THE FINGLE REPRESENTATION OF THE

AMERICAN FLAG.

IT WAS A SUBJECT HE WOULD RETURN

TO AGAIN AND AGAIN.

THE BEGINNING OF A BODY OF WORK

BY ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL

AMERICAN ARTISTS OF THE 20th

CENTURY.

THE WHITNEY, IN COLLABORATION

WITH THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF

ART, PRESENTS JASPER JOHNS,

MIND, MIRROR, THE INTROSPECTIVE

OF 900 ARTWORKS, SOME OF WHICH

FROM THE ARTIST'S PERSONAL

COLLECTION AND NOW BEING SHOWN

FOR THE FIRST TIME.

THE TITLE OF THE EXHIBIT

REFLECTS BOTH THE COLLABORATION

BETWEEN THE TWO MUSEUMS AND

JOHNS' OWN FASCINATION WITH

MIRRORING AND DOUBLES, A THEME

THAT HAS CAPTIVATED THE NOW

91-YEAR-OLD ARTIST THROUGHOUT

HIS SEVEN-DECADE CAREER.

>> JASPER JOHNS IS ONE OF THE

MOST IMPORTANT LIVING ARTISTS,

NOT JUST IN AMERICA BUT ANYWHERE

IN THE WORLD.

♪♪♪

HE WAS BORN IN 1930 AND BEGAN

SHOWING HIS WORK IN NEW YORK IN

THE MID 1950s.

HIS WORK INITIALLY CAUSED A

SCANDAL IN THE ART WORLD.

HE WAS INTRODUCING COMMON MOTIFS

LIKE FLAGS AND MAPS, THAT WERE

NOT NOT TO BE APPROPRIATE

SUBJECT MATTER FOR ART.

AND HE PRESENTED THEM IN A WAY

THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT WAS VERY

PLAIN, STRAIGHTFORWARD.

HE'S BEST KNOWN FOR THESE KINDS

OF IMAGES, HE'S HAD A REALLY

LONG CAREER.

ALMOST 70 YEARS OF WORK.

AND I THINK WHAT PEOPLE WILL SEE

WHEN THEY COME HERE IS AN ARTIST

WHOSE IMAGINATION WAS ALWAYS

CHANGING.

EVERY DECADE IT'S ALMOST LIKE A

NEW ARTIST IS COMING TO THE FORE

IN HIS WORK.

THE SHOW IS ACTUALLY APPEARING

IN TWO CITIES AT THE SAME TIME.

HERE AT THE WHITNEY AND AT THE

PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART, TO

CELEBRATE HIS 90th BIRTHDAY.

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE

RETROSPECTIVE EVER DEVOTED TO

JOHNS' CAREER.

THERE'S 500 WORKS BETWEEN THE 2

MUSEUMS AND EVERY MEDIUM IN

WHICH JOHNS MADE ART.

THE EXHIBITION IS CALLED JASPER

JOHNS MIND MIRROR, BECAUSE HE

MADE WORKS THAT PLAY WITH

SYMMETRY AND INTROSPEPGS.

AND THE MIRROR HAS BEEN PART OF

HIS CAREER FROM THE BEGINNING

UNTIL TODAY.

THE THREE FLAGS IS FROM 1958 AND

IT'S ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC

WORKS IN JOHNS' CAREER AND IN

THE WHITNEY COLLECTION.

YOU MOVE TO THE SIDE, YOU CAN

SEE THE WORK HAS A SCULPTURE

QUALITY.

THEY'RE THREE FLAGS THAT GET

PROGRESSIVELY SMALLER AS THEY

INCH OFF OF THE CANVAS.

THREE FLAGS IS MADE OUT OF

MATERIAL CALLED ACCOSTIC.

IT'S WAX AND PIGMENT.

EACH BRUSH STROKE, LIKE CANDLE

WAX, CONGEALS ON THE SURFACE AND

GIVES THE SURFACE A REALLY

DISTINCT APPEAL.

HE NEVER SAID WHY HE PAINTED

FLAGS AND HE SAID HE HAD A DREAM

THAT HE PAINTED ONE.

THESE ARE THE WORKS THAT ARE SO

OPEN TO INTERPRETATION BECAUSE

OF THE FEELING THAT MANY OF US

HAVE ABOUT THIS COUNTRY AND THE

SYMBOL AND THE IDEA IT INSPIRES

IN US.

RACING THOUGHTS IS ONE OF THE

MOST INTERESTING AND IMPORTANT

WORKS OF JOHNS' FROM THE 1980s.

YOU SEE HIS ART OPENING UP TO A

NEW VARIETY OF IMAGERY.

HIS PERSONAL LIFE, HIS FAMILY

HISTORY, THE HISTORY OF ART.

HE'S PAINTING FROM THE POINT OF

VIEW OF AN ARTIST LYING IN HIS

BATHTUB.

YOU SEE FROM THE TOP OF HIS OWN

COLLECTION.

A PORTRAIT OF THE ART DEALER LEO

CASTELLI, WHO WAS HIS GALLERYIST

AND FRIEND.

YOU SEE PANTS FROM A HOOK.

HE MADE TWO VERSIONS OF THE

PAINTING IN COLOR AND IN BLACK

AND WHITE IN OIL.

THIS IS ONE OF THE PLACES IN THE

EXHIBITION, THAT WE REFLECT ON

THE ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE OF THE

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE

EXHIBITION IN PHILADELPHIA AND

IN NEW YORK.

ALTHOUGH JOHNS IS REALLY

WELL-KNOWN FOR HIS PAINTINGS,

HIS DRAWINGS AND PRINTS, HE MADE

IMPORTANT SCULPTURES.

LIKE THE TWO ALE CANS OR THE

SAVRAN CAN.

HE RETURNED TO SCULPT AGAIN IN

THE EARLY 2000s.

HE WAS THINKING OF REMAKING A

WORK FROM THE 1960s, WHICH IS A

RELIEF SHOWING NUMBERS FROM ZERO

TO NINE.

HE WANTED TO CAP THAT WORK IN A

MORE DURABLE MATERIAL.

HE WAS LED TO THINK ABOUT

ALUMINUM, BRONZE, COPPER, SILVER

AND HOW THE DIFFERENT METALS

WOULD FORM THE WAY THE WORK

LOOKED AT THE END, THE WAY THE

LIGHT WOULD BE REFLECTED OFF OF

IT, THE WAY THE CASTING WOULD

SIT ON THE SURFACE.

IT EVEN HAS A FOOTPRINT ON IT.

THAT'S THE FOOTPRINT OF THE

DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER, AND HE

WAS A FRIEND TO JOHNS AND THIS

IS AN HOMAGE TO HIM.

ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING THINGS

ABOUT ORGANIZING THIS EXHIBITION

IS THAT THE FINAL CHAPTER OF THE

SHOW WAS WRITING ITSELF AS WE

WERE WORKING ON THE PROJECT.

UNTITLED FROM 2018 IS A PERFECT

EXAMPLE OF THAT.

THIS WORK WAS BEGUN MUCH EARLIER

THAN 2018 AND STOLEN BY A FORMER

ASSISTANT.

WHEN THE WORK WAS RETURNED TO

HIM FROM THE FBI, HE REVISITED

IT, ADDING IN DETAIL LIKE THE

DOLLAR SIGN AND THE REFERENCE TO

THE POLICE BLOTTER.

I LIKE TO THINK OF THIS AS THE

WORK OF A MAN IN HIS LATE 80s,

THINKING ABOUT DEATH, ABOUT

MORTALITY, AND EVEN THOUGH

THERE'S A SENSE OF MORBIDITY TO

IT, THERE'S A SENSE OF HUMOR.

A LITTLE HAT ON THE SKELETON'S

HEAD.

THE SMILE, THE GRIMACE THAT'S

THERE.

YOU GET A SENSE OF AN ARTIST

THAT IS CONFRONTING DEEP TRUTHS

WITH INSPIRATION AND FRESH

IDEAS.

THE IDEA OF THE SHOW WAS TO MAKE

PEOPLE WHO KNEW JOHNS' WORK TO

FEEL LIKE THEY WERE SEEING IT

FOR THE FIRST TIME AND TO

INTRODUCE A NEW GENERATION OF

VIEWERS TO THIS INCREDIBLE BODY

OF WORK.

STREAM NYC-ARTS ON

  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv

FEATURED PROGRAMS