Jasper Johns, Target, 1974. Courtesy of Upsilon Gallery.

Jasper Johns: Targets

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.

navigate left
navigate right
Ways to buy
check
Buy now
check
Make offer
check
Bid
check
Inquire
Medium
reveal more
Price
reveal less
USD
$50 - $50,000+
Size
reveal more
Color
reveal more
Time period
reveal more
navigate left
navigate right