Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Jasper Johns: Privileged Information Hardcover – October, 1996
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
An artist's private life is often reflected in his work. Frequently the private is made public, and often this connection makes the work more accessible and interesting. Critic Jill Johnston has taken on the task of exploring the life and work of Jasper Johns--that most private of contemporary artists--and has succeeded brilliantly. Johnston is not simply out to reveal Johns's gayness but to explore how his sexuality has shaped his life and work. Johnston's critical eye is unwavering, her ability to delineate political and social contexts is unnervingly on-target. The fact that Johns resisted Johnston's efforts at biography gives the book an underlying tension making it even more fascinating. Jasper Johns: Privileged Information is a fine, intelligent work of biography and criticism.
From Publishers Weekly
Despite his fame as an artist, Johns has always managed to keep his personal life a mystery. Nevertheless, Johnston (Secret Lives in Art) finds clues to his identity in two figures, a plague victim and a soldier, that he has hidden as abstractions in many of his paintings since the early 1980s. She sees these images, traced from Matthias Grunewald's 16th-century Isenheim Altarpiece, as opposing aspects of Johns's personality?the plague victim symbolizing his unhappy childhood and the soldier representing the heroic artist. She makes Johns's obsession with them the starting point of a quest to rout out details of his "secret autobiography" and show how his life has influenced his art. Her thesis is intriguing, and her analyses of Johns's paintings insightful, but her spiteful comments on the contemporary art world are disturbing, as are her accounts of her persistent interrogation of the artist and his family to ferret out the personal, such as his relationship with his parents and his homosexuality. Johns refused to give her any information, nor would he allow reproductions of his paintings in the book. There are, however, photographs of the artist, his family and the Grunewald altarpiece. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Readers who posted reviews on this site seem to have more objections to Johnston's book than the critics did at the time of the volume's publication. If the objections involve homosexuality, one wonders how the criticisms would sound had the artist been a secretly-married straight man being researched, or an asexual ascetic. Protestations about the homophobia Johnston explores are refuted by the increasingly documented 1950s actions of critics such as Clem Greenberg with Pollock, Harold Rosenberg, etc in the books noted above. The objection about an artist's privacy seems more viable, but here Johnston is not discussing a reclusive figure such as Clyfford Still who removed the artworks from public view but rather Jasper Johns, who participated actively in a growing, lucrative art market and publicity venues such as The Simpsons. Whether Privileged Information should have been released prior to John's death is a debating point; I for one am very glad to have read the book as it has sharpened my appreciation for the art many times over.
I find it ridiculous to imply that Jasper has done nothing more in his entire career than to publicly evade questions of his homosexuality, all the while flaunting it publicly in his works. I find this view insulting to Johns, artists in general, as well as the homosexual community. (hey Bob Dylan has been evasive to the press, lied in interviews, has created an entire body of work laden with hidden meanings, double entendre, and tried to keep his private life, well, private... perhaps Jill should write a book about his closet homosexuality?) - sorry couldn't resist.
Jill would have you believe that Johns has controlled the reception of his work. He even knew that his flag would overthrow abstract expressionism and reinvent the art world. All the time proclaiming that a flag is just a flag, and laughing maniacally that his subversive 'gay' flag took down the machismo ab ex's strangle hold. Now he controls the pen and tongue of every critic. Even Kramer speaks only in code, attacking Jasper's "work", when he's really attacking Johns for being gay. - I may have exaggerated here, Johns certainly can't control every critic's tongue. Here is Jill standing alone, carrying the truth that we've all been deprived of, ready as meek little David to take down Goliath with a pebble etched with a single three letter word. How's that for accusational and paranoid?
As far as gibberish, just try to wrap your head around anything that she says about Jasper, Bob, John, or Merce's fathers. It seems as if Jasper couldn't have an opening until the day his father died? And then arranged for the entire art world to honor him on his father's death anniversaries?
By the way Judy Garland is beloved by gay men, that may be my favorite piece of information I "learned" from reading this awful, awful book. awful, just plain awful.
I was reading the introduction to Gaston Bachelard's "The Poetics of Space" when I stumbled across a wonderful example of what really irritates me about this book. This is Bachelard's explanation of the shortcomings of psychoanalysis in regards to deciphering the work of poets. I found it particularly apt in relation to Jill's abusive interpretation of Jasper's art and personal life.
"And right away, the psychoanalyst will abandon ontological investigation of the image, to dig into the past of a man. He sees and points out the artists secret sufferings. He explains the flower by the fertilizer.
The phenomenologist does not go that far. For him, the image is there, the word speaks, the word of the poet speaks to him. There is no need to have lived through the poet's sufferings in order to seize the felicity of speech offered by the poet - a felicity that dominates tragedy itself. Sublimation in poetry towers above the psychology of the mundanely unhappy soul. For it is a fact that poetry possesses a felicity of its own, however great the tragedy it may be called upon to illustrate."
He then later quotes C.G. Jung further expanding this line of thought, "interest is diverted from the work of art and loses itself in the inextricable chaos of psychological antecedents; the poet becomes a 'clinical case', an example, to which is given a certain number in the psychopathia sexualis. Thus the psychoanalysis of a work of art moves away from its object and carries the discussion into a domain of general human interest, which is not in the least peculiar to the artist and, particularly, has no importance for his art." (On the Relation of Analytical Pyschologyto the Poetic Art)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i bet so.
he is one of the twelve riches artist in america.Read more