symbols of american identity through the eyes of Jasper Johns

Being that as Americans we are about to celebrate our 4th of July, I’m over at Modenus paying a short tribute to one of the 20th century’s greatest artists still living today – Jasper Johns (b. 1930).  Johns’ art is readily tied to our patriotic identity. In the 1960s, as the Vietnam War raged and waves of protest swept the country, Johns was criticized for his depictions of Americana – specifically the U.S. flag.  But Johns defended his use of the flag saying that what you see is what you get:  there was no underlying message of patriotic support nor opposition to the government. As any good artist, Johns encourages us to look closer at his art, whose subjects are sometimes riddled with assumptions and suppositions, and to forget our automatic assessments of what we read into it and just enjoy it for what it is.
I invite you to come with me to Modenus as I briefly highlight 3 of my favorite symbols of Johns’ Americana.



richard rabel
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city

image credits : Christie’s