American Philosophical Society
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1Name:  Mr. Jasper Johns
 Year Elected:  2007
 Class:  5. The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs
 Subdivision:  501. Creative Artists
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1930
Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930, in Augusta, Georgia, and lived in South Carolina during his childhood with his grandparents and other relatives. After studying at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, he went to New York in 1949. He attended art school for a short time before he was drafted into the army and stationed in Japan. From 1952 he lived in downtown New York, supporting himself by working in a bookstore and making display work for stores, including Tiffany & Co. The first Flag, Target and Number paintings were made in the mid-1950s and were shown in his first one-man exhibition in 1958 at the Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, where he continued to exhibit regularly. In 1959 he participated in the "Sixteen Americans" show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. During this period, Johns made his first sculptures of a light bulb and a flashlight, and in 1960 he made the two "Painted Bronze" pieces of the Ballantine Ale cans and the Savarin coffee can with paintbrushes. Also in 1960, Johns made his first lithograph ("Target") at Tatyana Grosman's print workshop on Long Island, Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE). He has since made prints mainly at ULAE; Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles; Simca Print Artists, Inc, New York; and Atelier Crommelynck, Paris. Exhibitions of his prints were held in 1970 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and in 1982 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In May, 1986, The Museum of Modern Art presented "Jasper Johns: A Print Retrospective," which traveled in the United States, Europe and Japan; and in 1990, two years after having acquired a complete collection of the artist's published graphic work, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, organized the exhibition "Jasper Johns: Printed Symbols," which traveled to six other museums in the United States and Canada. In spring 1994 ULAE published "The Prints of Jasper Johns 1960-1993: A Catalogue Raisonné." Though living in New York in the 1960s, Jasper Johns worked at his studio in Edisto Beach, South Carolina several months of each year, from 1961 until it was destroyed by fire in 1966. He also traveled and worked in Japan and in Los Angeles, when he began making prints at Gemini G. E. L. Works of this period include the "0 through 9" series (1961); the "Watchman" and "Souvenir" paintings (Japan, 1964); and the large works "Diver" (1962), "According to What" (1964); "Harlem Light" (1967); and "Wall Piece" (1968). Johns' "Map (Based on Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Air Ocean World)" (1967-71), originally made for the Montréal Expo '67, was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971. In a large "Untited" painting in 1972, Johns introduced in his work a motif referred to as "cross hatch." "Scent" (1973-74) was the first work based entirely on the "cross hatch" motif, which dominated his work into the early 1980s. During this period, in 1977, the Whitney Museum of American Art presented a retrospective exhibition, "Jasper Johns," which traveled in the United States, Europe and Japan. In the beginning of 1987, Johns' show at the Leo Castelli Gallery featured four paintings of "The Seasons", along with drawings and prints based on the same theme. A set of four intaglio prints, The Seasons represented the most recent work in the exhibition "Jasper Johns: Work Since 1974", organized by and shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art after opening at the 1988 Venice Biennale. Johns was the featured artist at the American Pavilion in Venice and recipient of the Grand Prize for the 43rd Biennale. In 1990 the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., opened the retrospective "The Drawings of Jasper Johns", later shown at the Kunstmuseum, Basel; the Hayward Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 1993 Leo Castelli celebrated his long working relationship with the artist with an exhibition "Jasper Johns: 35 Years with Leo Castelli" with works representing the 11 shows held at the gallery from 1958-93. Early in 1996, the first exhibition of Johns' sculpture, organized by the Centre for the Study of Sculpture at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, opened at the Menil Collection, Houston, and was later shown at the Leeds City Art Gallery. In the fall of the same year, the Museum of Modern Art presented a retrospective exhibition of the artist's work, which traveled to museums in Cologne and Tokyo. Most of the loans from the artist for that exhibition were featured at the opening of the Fondation Beyeler in Basel in October 1997. In 1999 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented "Jasper Johns: New Paintings and Works on Paper," which traveled to the Yale University Art Gallery and the Dallas Museum of Art. In 2003 "Jasper Johns: Numbers," was exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and "Past Things and Present: Jasper Johns since 1983," at the Walker Art Cetner. The latter show traveled in the U.S., Spain, Scotland and Ireland. The year 2007 began with the opening of two exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. "Jasper Johns: An Allegory of Painting 1955-1965" included paintings, drawings and prints relating to four subjects in Johns' work: the target, the device, stencilled names of colors, and tracings and imprints of body parts. "States and Variations: Prints by Jasper Johns" opened with the National Gallery's announcement of the acquisition from the artist of about 1,700 proofs of the various types of prints he had made since he began working in that medium in 1960. After moving to Connecticut in 1996, Johns set up a print studio, Low Road Studio, on his property. In the fall of 2004 Leo Castelli Gallery presented "Jasper Johns: Prints from the Low Road Studio", the first exhibition of those works. The Museum of Modern Art acquired three of Johns' paintings from his first exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1958. His work is now represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the world. Jasper Johns has been a director of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts since its beginning in 1963. He was artistic advisor to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1967-75. He received the Creative Arts Awards Citation for Painting from Brandeis University in 1970 and two medals from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture: the Skowhegan Medal for Painting in 1972 and the Skowhegan Medal for Graphics in 1977. In 1973 he was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1978 he received the City of New York Mayor's Award of Honor for Arts and Culture. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1984. The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded Johns the Gold Medal for Graphic Art in 1986, the same year in which the Wolf Foundation of Israel awarded him the Wolf Prize for Painting. In 1988 Brandeis University honored him again with the Creative Arts Awards Medal for Painting. In the same year he received the Grand Prize at the XLIII Venice Biennale and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990 Johns was presented a National Medal of Arts at the White House by President Bush, and in 1993 he received the Praemium Imperiale for painting from the Japan Art Association in Tokyo. The MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, awarded Johns the Edward MacDowell Medal in 1994. In 1997 he was made an Academician in the Class of Painting of the National Academy/ Museum and School of Fine Arts, New York. At present, Jasper Johns maintains studios in Connecticut and the French West Indies, where he works on paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints. He was awarded the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Obama. His latest museum exhibition, "Jasper Johns: Gray", opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2008.
Election Year
2007 (1)