Monday, July 02, 2007

July Art Lesson

In honor of Independence Day, here's a famous piece of American art by the famous American artist Jasper Johns:

Flag, 1954-1955 Jasper Johns (American, born 1930) Encaustic, oil and collage on fabric mounted on plywood (3 panels) MOMA, NYC


Johns has said that the idea to paint his first American flag came to him in a dream. Although he began the work using enamel house paint, he soon turned to his variant of the ancient medium of encaustic wherein wax, hot oil, binds pigment. He did this because he wanted a medium that dries quickly yet keeps the brushstrokes distinct. The fast-drying medium enabled Johns to apply individual strokes with great textural variation, while allowing some of the underlying areas o collage to show through, dimly, enticing the viewer to look closerly. As John Cage wrote of Johns' craftsmanship, "Looking closely helps, though the paint is applied so sensually there is the danger of falling in love."

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