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A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns Hardcover – December 1, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Yau, a poet and art critic, drops the hammer on the orthodoxy regarding Johns... A Thing Among Things is energized... Yau offers bracing interpretations of a range of John's paintings and sculptures. He is especially adept at drawing the artist's formal gestures into the web of meanings the he claims the works strive to impart." --James Gibbons, Bookforum,December/January 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers; 1St Edition edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933045620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933045627
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book, written by Brooklyn Rail editor John Yau, is an in-depth study of Jasper Johns's art that had been several years in the making prior to its publication and which is the result of several thorough interviews with the artist. Every major painting is explained in detail, tracing the sources and explaining the reasons. Tackling such issues as verticality as a symbol of downfall, color, the relationship between form and background, the importance and significance of objects (brooms, balls,hooks), of body parts (a human thigh and calf in a painting such as "Watchman"), of letters, of words or figures, of signs (in the painting "According to What") etc, this is an erudite text which, at times, is difficult to read, but, then, so is Jasper Johns's art. I, for one, had some misgivings on Johns's late paintings, from the 1980's onward, and this book undoubtedly helped to dissipate them.

Also, the illustrations are first-rate and numerous, which makes the reading easier.
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