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John Lund: Jasper Johns at Atelier, Photograph
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Jasper Johns: The 100 Monotypes

February 29 – July 19, 2020

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is one of the leading artists of American Pop art. Well-known for his large-format paintings in bright, vibrant colors, he was also a prolific printmaker, and his graphic work puts the peintre-graveur on a par with Goya and Picasso. On the occasion of his 90th birthday on May 15, 2020, the Museum Barberini will present his most recent series, The 100 Monotypes, originally created with the intention of accompanying his catalogue raisonné (Wildenstein Plattner Institute, 2017).

“Is it a flag, or is it a painting?” This was the question asked by the musician John Cage when Jasper Johns began to move abstract expressionism back to figuration in the 1950s by painting flags, numbers, targets, maps, and letters. Cage alluded to Johns’s blurring of the boundaries between reality and representation. Johns has also repeatedly addressed the dynamics of reproduction by experimenting with collage and repetition.

Since each print is unique, monotypes are more akin to painting than to printmaking. Reworking the same plates many times for The 100 Monotypes, Johns added an etched imprint of his hand and symbols of American Sign Language (ASL), as well as motifs that were important to him, such as string, stencils, and allusions to his own paintings and sculptures. The artist commented about this interaction in an interview: “I like to repeat an image in another medium to observe the play between the two: the image and the medium. In a sense, one does the same thing two ways and observes differences and sameness—the stress the image takes in different media. I can understand that someone else might find that boring and repetitious, but that’s not the way I see it. I enjoy working with such an idea.” Each monotype informs the next, thus forming part of a narrative chain that reflects Johns’s artistic practice as well as his oeuvre.

On May 3, 2020, 4 p.m., in an event that was supposed to be part of the Berlin Gallery Weekend, Roberta Bernstein, author and director of the catalogue raisonné, wanted to talk about Jasper Johns’s cycle The 100 Monotypes. To celebrate Jasper Johns’s 90th birthday on May 15, the Museum Barberini, in cooperation with the American Academy, wanted to welcome Adam Weinberg, Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, who would have discussed Jasper Johns’s work as well as contemporary trends in American art in a talk entitled Jasper Johns and Beyond: Re-Viewing American Art in the 21st Century.

Exhibition Catalog

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue reproducing all 100 monotypes in large format, with an essay by Judith Goldman exploring the links between the Monotypes series and Johns’s printmaking. Jasper Johns: The 100 Monotypes will be published in the Barberini Studien series by Prestel Verlag.

Buy online

© Museum Barberini / Prestel 2020

© Museum Barberini / Prestel 2020

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue reproducing all 100 monotypes in large format, with an essay by Judith Goldman exploring the links between the Monotypes series and Johns’s printmaking. Jasper Johns: The 100 Monotypes will be published in the Barberini Studien series by Prestel Verlag.

© Museum Barberini / Prestel 2020

© Museum Barberini / Prestel 2020

Buy online

Interview with Roberta Bernstein, art historian, on Jasper Johns

What fascinates you most about Jasper Johns' work, Roberta Bernstein?

Parallel to the Monet exhibition, the Museum Barberini is presenting "The 100 Monotypes“ by Jasper Johns. The pioneer of American Pop Art became known in the 1950s with his flags and targets. The relationship between reality and image is also the topic of his latest work, which Johns created to accompany his catalogue raisonné (The Wildenstein Plattner Institute) and is now on display for the first time.

What fascinates you most about Jasper Johns' work, Roberta Bernstein?

Parallel to the Monet exhibition, the Museum Barberini is presenting "The 100 Monotypes“ by Jasper Johns. The pioneer of American Pop Art became known in the 1950s with his flags and targets. The relationship between reality and image is also the topic of his latest work, which Johns created to accompany his catalogue raisonné (The Wildenstein Plattner Institute) and is now on display for the first time.