Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Pop Art

Why did Jasper Johns paint the American flag?

Jasper Johns (1930–) is an American contemporary artist known for his painting, printing, and sculpture. His paintings frequently feature familiar objects and symbols such as targets, numbers, and the American flag. In line with the themes and goals of pop art, Johns was interested in using familiar objects in a new way. Rather than create new images, he wanted to depict “things the mind already knows” (as quoted in the Met Museum Timeline of Art History). He said that his decision to paint flags was inspired by a dream, and his realistic works serve to highlight the artificiality of the symbols he represents.


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