The Philadelphia Museum of Art has organized a survey of recent paintings and drawings by Jasper Johns, one of the most celebrated and influential artists working today, for the United States Pavilion of the 43rd Venice Biennale. The exhibition will be shown in Venice in the summer of 1988, followed by a fall showing in Philadelphia. In the late 1950s, the work of Johns helped set forth an alternative to Abstract Expressionism in the United States. His use of immediately recognizable imagery such as flags, targets, and numbers resulted in a more public, less introspective approach than was then prevalent and had an enormous influence on artistic developments of the 1960s and early 1970s. As his work has evolved over the past 15 years, Johns has meditated on fundamental premises of life and explored aspects of the history of art. Juxtaposing abstract patterns, hidden references, and familiar objects, he has reached new levels of complexity in canvases that rank among the most lush and beautiful being created in our time. Yet for the most part this impressive body of work has been seen only in fragmentary form. This exhibition -- Jasper Johns: Work Since 1974 -- presents a survey of John's recent work from the "crosshatch" paintings starting in 1974, the artist's first purely abstract canvases, to his more expressive personal imagery of the 1980s, culminating in the quartet of paintings known as The Seasons.
Philadelphia Museum of Art