Jasper Johns (American, born 1930)
Lithograph with stamps; 34 x 25 in. (86.4 x 63.5 cm)
Gift of Dr. Joseph I. Singer, 1969 (69.701.2)
© Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Often considered a progenitor of the Neo-Dada movement, Johns appropriated the most common non-art objects for his subject matter. Unlike the elder Dadaist Marcel Duchamp, who simply declared found objects, such as a urinal and a bicycle wheel, to be works of art, Johns remade objects of comparable banality out of fine-art materials. Targets, flags, and ale cans were rendered full scale on canvas and in bronze, prompting the viewer to question the boundaries between illusion and reality, art and life. Here, Johns used lithography to render two American flags on a single sheet of handmade paper: one, brightly colored and firmly anchored in the upper register, and the other, a ghostly twin, sliding off the sheet in the lower register.