Jasper Johns, Watchman, 1964


Jasper Johns, Watchman, 1964, the Broad, Los Angeles, California

Johns is a kind of contradictory artist, who sought to deconstruct modernism for almost the same reason that modernism, and Dada in particular sought to deconstruct classical art. In the beginning of 20th century, Dada emerged as an anti-art, a response to the war and stood for everything anti-bourgeois, rejecting logic, reason and modern capitalist society. Dada sought to completely re-imagine how the artist and the viewer perceives society around them. About twenty years later, Abstract Expressionism began to emerge, with its sense of rebellion, nihilism and idiosyncrasy. Enter Johns, who with his break out work Flag, 1954-55, rejected both Dada and Abstract Expressionism, challenging both to be too overpowering over art, almost too self imposing on not just the execution but also the end product of the artistic outcome. What Johns did hope to achieve, though, is to depict objects, such as flags, numbers, and targets, objects that the audience is already familiar with, and remove their already existing identification and resonance, and allow for the viewer to interpret them for themselves based on the viewers’ own surroundings and circumstance. Pictured here is Jasper Johns, Watchman, 1964, the Broad, Los Angeles, California

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