Jasper Johns a Pop Artist?

Another strong contender in the world of Modern Art would be the famous artist Jasper Johns, who challenged the way that Americans looked at many commonplace items in our iconography.  For the fact that he often used many images from popular culture, Jasper Johns has often been classified as a Pop Artist, although this is not exactly the best classification for him.  A more appropriate label might be one of Neo-Dadaism, for the use of popular images, modern materials, and absurdism.  Johns, in his work, often aimed to make us look at the absurd qualities of many things that we as the American public took for granted.

Jasper Johns is potentially most well known for his painting Flag, which simply depicts a flag, painted heavily over found materials, such as crumpled up newspapers.  Found materials would play heavily into Johns’ work, as Johns would make a point of incorporating the world as it is into the pieces of art that he would produce.  Jasper Johns would commonly paint different maps and flags that were richly worked and detailed and often-evoked conflicting emotions in critics.  The art world seemed to be looking for something with the same emotional vulnerability and honesty as Abstract Expressionist works produced, yet having more subject matter and substance than simple painting which evoked an emotion on its own.  The work of Jasper Johns would provide that, both to the delight and the wrath of many.  His attention to detail and painting form was much more involved than the work of Abstract Expressionists, yet his subject matter was presented in an absurd way, making people feel that the process of painting the portrait conveys some of Johns’ thoughts on the matter.

His work has always been simple yet refined.  Johns has always carried the ability to inflict strong emotions in the viewers of his paintings, largely because of his unerring emotional honesty.  His work has clearly earned a place in art history.

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