New Director(s) of the Wade - So, there's big news from the Wade Center, the most important of which is that after an interim of several years,* during which their highly skilled and de...
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|FLAG, Jasper Johns, 1954, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)|
“One night I dreamed that I painted a large American flag,” Johns has said of this work, “and the next morning I got up and I went out and bought the materials to begin it.” Those materials included three canvases that he mounted on plywood, strips of newspaper, and encaustic paint—a mixture of pigment and molten wax that has formed a surface of lumps and smears. The newspaper scraps visible beneath the stripes and forty-eight stars lend this icon historical specificity. The American flag is something “the mind already knows,” Johns has said, but its execution complicates the representation and invites close inspection. A critic of the time encapsulated this painting’s ambivalence, asking, “Is this a flag or a painting?” (MOMA Gallery text)