Jasper Johns ‘A Story Told in Pictures’

Jasper Johns ‘A Story Told in Pictures’

There may or may not be an idea, and the meaning may just be that the painting exists.

Jasper Johns

The American artist Jasper Johns is often viewed as one of the greatest living artists – fluent in painting, sculpting and printmaking. That being said, he seems to have no wish to explain his art (apart from in a very rudimentary way) and the idea of meaning is particularly elusive in his work. As a result it seems the best way to write an article about him is to include a series of pictures and say very little.


One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag, and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.

Jasper Johns


I am just trying to find a way to make pictures.

Jasper Johns


My work is largely concerned with relations between seeing and knowing, seeing and saying, seeing and believing.

Jasper Johns


I tend to like things that already exist. Jasper Johns

Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that. Jasper Johns

I have no ideas about what the paintings imply about the world. I don’t think that’s a painter’s business. He just paints paintings without a conscious reason. Jasper Johns

One works without thinking how to work. Jasper Johns

I don’t want my work to be an exposure of my feelings. Jasper Johns

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