Series

Targets

11 available

Jasper Johns’s targets are among the pioneering Pop artist’s earliest most celebrated motifs. In fact, the first painting Johns ever exhibited was Green Target (1955) at the Jewish Museum in 1957. Johns, who is also known for depictions of maps, numbers, and flags, was drawn to targets because they were a symbol “the mind already knows.” Though easily recognizable at first glance, Johns’s targets become more complex as the viewer approaches. At times layered with newspaper clippings, anointed with plaster-casted human heads, or covered in a thick mixture of paint and beeswax, Johns’s targets are anything but a simple reproduction of the familiar motif. Instead, the artist transforms this overlooked symbol into a template for artistic exploration and discovery. While Johns’s targets have inspired a variety of interpretations from art historians, they are most often seen as a reference to the eye itself—gazing back at the beholder, reminding viewers that art can also stare back.

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