Memories Made in the USA

Jasper Johns has drawn on iconic symbols of American culture for as long as he’s made art. He got a pop reputation in the 1950s and ’60s with American flags, targets, numbers, and maps of the USA. At nearly 82 (his birthday is in a couple of weeks), he hasn’t stopped. His latest work will bring a wave of nostalgia for anyone who was a kid in the 1980s. First exhibited last year at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, Shrinky Dinks are a series of prints based on drawings that Johns made with this children’s toy, which reduces in size when heated by 60% in “three magic minutes.” Let this trailer bring it all back:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nrt2OuiD0k&w=600]

Johns himself was not a kid in the ’80s. He was a kid in South Carolina in the ’30s and early ”40s. He used to collect gourds in his back yard, turn them into piggy banks and decorate them with funny faces. Now at his home on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, he’s back at it, and miniature gourd-monsters peer out of some of his new works on paper as a result. We’re excited to meet these monsters and see Shrinky Dinks 1-4 along with some of those early iconic examples of flags, targets, and numbers (and everything in between) in our new exhibition Jasper Johns: Variations on a Theme–with 101 prints–opening June 2.

Jasper Johns, Shrinky Dink 4, 2011. Intaglio, 28 3/4 x 31 3/4 in. Published by Universal Limited Art Editions. Courtesy ULAE © Jasper Johns and ULAE / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Jasper Johns, Shrinky Dink 4, 2011. Intaglio, 28 3/4 x 31 3/4 in. Published by Universal Limited Art Editions. Courtesy ULAE © Jasper Johns and ULAE / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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