Over the years, many articles and catalog introductions have been written. The articles printed here are amongst the most recent...........

The essay by Roy Slade on David Budd was written for the exhibition “David Budd: The Future of Futurism – paintings from the 1950’s” at the McCormick Gallery, Chicago, April 29 – June 17, 2006. Numerous other introductions have been written, as director of the Corcoran and Cranbrook, for exhibition catalogs on artists such as Milton Avery; Duane Hanson; Keith Haring; Louise Nevelson; Yoko Ono; Tony Rosenthal. Other essays are in many catalogs, including “Glimpse: Work by Yoko Ono (1993); “Cranbrook Design: The New Discourse” (1991); “Viewpoint: Painting and the Third Dimension” (1986); “At Cranbrook: 21 Downtown Detroit Artists” (1979); “The Corcoran & Washington Art” (1976); “The American Genius: W.W. Corcoran” (1976); “The 34th Corcoran Biennial: Contemporary American Painting” (1975); “Modern Argentine Drawings” (1975).

Over the years articles have been published in “Orientations”; “Studio International”; “Arts”; “Art Gallery”; “Art Journal”; “The Detroit News”; “The Detroit Free Press”; “The Guardian”.

"Waves of Meaning" is an essay written for the Arts Center, St Petersburg, and included in the catalog of the exhibition "Waves of Meaning: Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse" on view January 18 thru February 23, 2008.

This article by Lennie Bennett, "The Gentle Art of Encouragement", dealing with Roy Slade as juror at Art Festival Beth-El, appeared in the St Petersburg Times, Weekend Section, on Thursday 24 January 2008.

DAVID BUDD

At a lunch in Sarasota, two years ago, I met Corky Bowes. During our conversation, she asked if I knew of a gallery that might show the work of her late husband, David Budd. My wife, Agnes, recalled an ad in ‘Art News’ that included the work of artists from the 50’s & 60’s. Agnes remembered the name of Melville Price being in the list of artists. Mel had been the husband of Barbara Price, our friend and former Dean at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Agnes promised to look for the ad and contact Corky. In this way, from a casual conversation, the exhibition of the work of David Budd has come into being, along with the invitation, from Tom McCormick, for me to write a catalog introduction.

Personally, I write both as a former museum director and a fellow painter about work with which I have a great affinity. David Budd was of my time and, although never knowing him, I know his work for his concerns are of our era: abstraction, gesture, color, texture and surface. As a painter, I understand these issues and, at the same time, I acknowledge the lyrical inspiration and influence of nature, also evident in Budd’s work.

In January of this year, Agnes and I drove to Sarasota and visited with Corky in her home. The conversation gave more insights into the life of David Budd and Corcaita Christiana, an equestrian performer of the Christiana family, circus nobility. Her life is a fascinating story in itself, yet the following comments refer to her life with Budd. As a young and handsome student, he first saw her, she recalls, on the beach. They were married in 1950 with Corcaita a ‘child bride’ of eighteen years. Early in their marriage, David traveled with the circus in Canada. While she was performing in the ring, a vivacious and beautiful girl, he was selling cotton candy, making enough money to go to New York.

In the early fifties, David became part of the New York art scene and Corky went with him. She met artists from Kline to Pollock and David showed at the Betty Parsons Gallery. As she says, with “her strict Catholic upbringing and sheltered by a large Italian family”, she was aghast as “too much stuff was going on with the artists drinking and fighting, then hugging” and “being promiscuous, swapping wives”. The couple drifted apart and she performed, as an equestrian star, in circus throughout the world. Corky was even the stand in for Doris Day in the movie ‘Jumbo’. She eventually divorced David and remarried. In the late eighties, her return to Sarasota, the home of the circus, seemed inevitable and she moved back. David phoned her to say he was dying. With their daughter, now grown up, she looked after him for the last few years of his life.

Corky lives in a modest house in a quiet neighborhood, surrounded by trees and palms on the outside and by Budd’s paintings and drawings inside. What is noticeable is that she has real affection for the work. She insisted that we take a painting off the wall, so as to get natural lighting in order to better admire the surface and brush strokes. With gentle caress, she touches a crimson painting in the hall wall, pointing out the undulating surface and delicate texture. Corky genuinely admires David’s talent and the fact “he never prostituted himself”. She feels that “he deserves further recognition” and hopes this show in Chicago will do that for David Budd.

Of course, in his lifetime, he did receive accolades and awards, including the prestigious Peggy Guggenheim Award in l986. For that occasion, late in his life and with his numerous health problems, Corky went with him to Venice. In that catalog, David Budd wrote “I feel no time to concern myself with such pedantic phrases as ‘ the paintings speak for themselves’. We look and then we decide, not the paintings. We like or we do not like.” Unlike Budd, I do feel the paintings speak for themselves but agree that we decide to like or not! The work in this exhibition shows a range of abstraction, reflecting the richness of palette and potential of surface that the artist explored and exploited during his lifetime. Gesture is evident throughout the work, whether in the intricacies of marks or the scumbling of surface. The paintings are an art without epoch, timeless in concept and creation. Like music, the paintings are pure, dealing with orchestration of surface, marks and gesture.

David Budd was born and studied in Florida, moved to New York, then for a decade lived and worked in Europe. Corky feels that this was a mistake and “poor timing” as Budd became forgotten and overlooked in his own country. Nevertheless, exhibitions were numerous, both solo and group shows, in prestigious galleries and major museums. His work is included in museum collections including the Metropolitan, Guggenheim, Whitney and Corcoran. Most recently his paintings were included in the exhibition “Modern Art in Florida 1948 – 1970”, curated by Mark Ormond for the Tampa Museum of Art in 2003. In the catalog, Ormond writes “Budd’s first paintings in 1954 were influenced by his new friend, Jackson Pollock. Budd painted on masonite with powerful gestures that took paint beyond the panel’s edge” At the preview of this exhibition many guests were present. I met Gertrude Kasle, a renowned art dealer from Detroit who I know well and, to my surprise, had retired to Sarasota. Corky was also at the opening but not until that luncheon in Sarasota, which Gertrude hosted, did we meet.

David Budd is of my era, a fellow painter to whose work I can easily relate. As I began to write, I realized I should know more and that is why I visited Corky. Although I never met the artist, I feel I know him through his work and widow. His journey is my journey and those of many artists of the 50’s and 60’s who reveled in the joy of painting. Today, what a pleasure it is to see work that celebrates the passion of painting and the magic of the mark. The hand of the artist is so evident in these works on view at the McCormick Gallery. The paintings are resonant with color and gesture, a visual delight. From an early work, fittingly called ”Early” 1954 to the “Creeks” 1958, the sumptuous color and tormented gesture reflect an era of the potential and promise of painting. The variance in movement and mood, space and surface, gesture and gestalt are evident throughout the work. Color, whether sumptuous or somber, is celebrated in many ways, as is gesture. David Budd is of his time, yet more, for his art is an art without epoch. As alive and vital as when created, to be enjoyed this day.

Much else has been written on the paintings of David Budd by such as William Burroughs, Carter Ratcliff and Thomas Hess. For the 1984 catalog from the Max Hutchison Gallery, Joseph Masheck wrote an essay appropriately titled “An Earthly Abstraction”. Most relevant and poignant are the words from a 1996 catalog by the Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, in which Kevin Dean writes, “David Budd died of heart failure at his home in Sarasota on October 9, 1991. But his work survives him, and its haunting beauty lives on in the memories of all those who see it”. Indeed, the work of David Budd does live on, with paintings vibrant and expressive. To see his work today is to have the privilege and pleasure of sharing in his colorful creativity.

Roy Slade 
Director Emeritus, 
Cranbrook Art Museum. 
Clearwater, Florida 
January 2006.

“Waves of Meaning: Robert Stackhouse and Carol Mickett"

The Arts Center, St Petersburg, Florida. 
January 18-February 23, 2008.

The Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body of water in the world. It is an ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. (From the first of 6,250,000 entries on Google).

The Gulf of Mexico is a dominant feature for those of us who live on or near its coast. These ever changing waters are held in awe and apprehension; notably so during hurricane season. Unpredictable and terrifying storms, with gusty gales and tidal flooding, cause devastation and despair. The power of nature is a wonder to behold, as is its beauty. Sunsets are a tableau of color, clouds and contrast; the green flash is legendary. The sky is ever changing from clear blue with cumulus clouds, white and towering, to threatening storms, dark and angry. From calm seas to surging surf, waves move in relentless tides, low and high, day and night. The Gulf is a palette of many colors; with sky and water as the canvas, dramatically different: hour by hour, day by day, month by month, season after season. The unexpected is to be expected, as the Gulf is always moving, magnificent and majestic.

Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse felt their challenge was how to depict the Gulf of Mexico. After a flight to Houston, with views from the air of the waters below, they started a conversation on how to interpret that experience. Their choice was to develop a body of artwork dealing with the Gulf. Deliberation and discussion continued as they grappled with this problem; to be addressed through mutual collaboration.

Their conceptual process is one of constant give and take; learning from one another. As individuals, they approach the problem from different backgrounds. Carol Mickett is a long time professor of philosophy, with a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Minnesota, and has been a freelance producer, director, and writer who published numerous essays, poems and interviews. She was involved with filmmaking, theatre, poetry and the arts. Stackhouse is an artist, educated as a painter, who became a sculptor. Over the past forty years, Robert has gained national repute through his art; with many exhibitions and works in collections of major museums. A graduate of USF, he was presented with an honorary doctorate in 2006.

With the Arts Center, in a laudable act of institutional cooperation, two other art museums are presenting the work of Robert Stackhouse. The Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland features “Robert Stackhouse: Swimmers and Floaters”, a thirty year retrospective from the Belger Foundation. At USF Contemporary Art Museum is “Robert Stackhouse Editions Archive”, which also includes prints, made with Carol, and the sculpture Factor 24. That collaborative sculpture was shown in 2006 at Tampa Arts Alive. Through these current exhibitions, the unique opportunity exists to witness the development of an established artist, Stackhouse, and his emerging collaboration with Carol Mickett.

To welcome and commemorate 2008, Mickett and Stackhouse created a sculpture 24’ long. A wood frame in the shape of a hull, stretched over with fabric, was placed on wooden supports, the bow tilted skyward. Inside the hull were lights in wave like strands that shone thru the fabric, illuminating the sculpture from within. On New Years Eve, in the darkness of night, the boat like structure had an elegant simplicity yet commanding presence. The sculpture entitled Peace O’ Eight was part of St Petersburg’s downtown festivities. People were invited to write their New Year’s resolutions on the hull’s fabric, eventually covered with writing, resolutions overlapping. The sculpture took on another dimension with the lighting of torches and burning of the boat. The burnt fabric billowed upward in the wind, curling embers of orange and yellow against the black sky; with the skeletal frame burning and smoldering as the New Year began. The event worked on many levels; being a sculptural object, light sculpture, participatory event and pyrotechnic happening. Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse presented a memorable work and celebration for 2008.

The title Peace O’ Eight is full of meaning: the pirates’ pieces of eight; peace in our time; and this year, indeed, is ’08. The layering of meaning is also evident in The Waves of Meaning. The title represents many layers of meaning from the installation itself to the very act of collaboration. To collaborate means “to work with another; cooperate”. Collaboration is “a product resulting from collaboration; as in the product of many minds”. This exhibition of twelve works at the Arts Center, their most ambitious and largest collaboration so far, offers many meanings and insights.

For the sculpture, In the Blue, cooperation took on another aspect, involving many volunteers and staff from the Arts Center. To witness Carol and Bob working with this group, in the studio courtyard, gave an understanding of the dimension of collaborative effort involved in the work. 3000 pieces of cypress were hand-dipped in blue paint. The two artists worked with volunteers dipping and stacking the wood in a collective act; the process took several days and 35 gallons of paint to cover the wooden slats. The stained cypress was delivered to the gallery. Staff and volunteers, working eight hours a day, took nearly two weeks to complete the structure; their remarkable efforts, commitment and resilience that made possible this installation. The main structure that creates passage through the work is based on the A frame; evident throughout Bob’s creative career. The structure had to be attached, not to the floor but to the wall, spanning from one wall to the other.

In the Blue, a sculptural installation using 2,400 square feet of gallery space, is huge in every way, from concept to being. To view the work, one must walk completely into and through the space. The installation is divided into four distinct parts or quadrants, enclosed within gallery walls that, initially, may appear claustrophobic and chilling; yet encourage the curious visitor to enter. Carol and Bob feel that the work is both a passage through the Gulf and the collaborative process; the progression and changing sensations are described as: gentle; turbulent; calm; flow.

blue

blue

The initial impression of In the Blue is just that: blue. The color blue pervades the place, creating an eerie light of subterranean hue; an aqua mood of aesthetic ambience. The first room is Clacker, so named for the hanging wooden slats that hang down from the frame; creating tall, narrow enclosures. Move the slats and they swish and clack in gentle movements, reminiscent of the swishing seas. Crest is confrontational and antagonistic; threatening wood slats at all angles, thrusting forward, above and below, crashing over us; indeed turbulent. Calm is just that: a tranquil haven and open, simplistic and reassuring. Channel is an opening up, a passage through, wood slats creating an undulating flow. The journey is one of moving through, making a passage; the movement is of the individual not of water and waves. The structure is rigid and firm; thought is flexible and responsive. Lights illuminate the forms and linear slats; creating light and shadow, golden and blue. The somber silence and skeletal structure remain like an ocean frozen in some future apocalypse. The sense of containment within boundaries is like the Gulf, as are the different moods and constant change.

The series of four works titled Atlas in the Blue: Clacker/ Crest/ Calm/ Channel were made in preparation for the sculptural installation and address theoretical and structural issues. The drawings illustrate and define the different spaces and changing moods of the sculpture. Names of cities of the Gulf are integrated into the drawings, illuminating the concept and space. The watercolor Flow is at the opposite end of the galleries and complements the flux and movement of In the Blue. The wavy water like forms of the watercolor repeat the mood and color of the installation. Currency is a large spiral, in watercolor, charcoal, acrylic and ink that was originally titled Blue Current (Bay magazine December 2007). The work now has an overlay of lines representing longitude and latitude; names of coastal cities; and a loop of blue paint in the right hand corner that represents the Loop Current. The title Currency is another play on words. Whirl is the title for three drawings, small but powerful variations on the spiral. The watercolor, charcoal and ink works are gestural, silky, seductive renderings of turbulence and movement; again reminiscent of the movement and mood of the Gulf.

The painting Icondance may symbolize and, indeed, is an icon for their collaboration. The spiraling snake is one of Bob’s images while Carol’s fish represents her interest in the water. T/Here, another large painting of watercolor and ink is a rendering of the map of the Gulf of Mexico, including the Caribbean and Cuba. Their most recent work, finished on the morning of the preview, is regarded by the artists as most significant, with meaning on many levels. The work is both local and global and can refer to what happens over there, in Africa, where hurricanes originate. They had never used the color ultramarine and also liked the play on words; the exhibition is ultra marine?! Their collaboration takes each of them outside their comfort zone and challenges them to think anew. For them, T/Here holds great promise and potential. Carol and Bob are excited where this may lead; time will tell.

The title, Waves of Meaning, is not the only about their art but about their collaboration, marriage and life. Meanings exist on many levels. Definitions become critical in viewing this exhibition and collaboration. The definition of collaboration has been discussed earlier; let us address the word “meaning”, which is “the end, purpose or significance of something”. The word “wave” may be “a disturbance on the surface” and to make waves is “to disturb the status quo”. Certainly, Mickett and Stackhouse have achieved a disturbance of the status quo with their evolving collaboration and mutual endeavors. In so doing, they make us look again, with renewed interest and greater curiosity, at the Gulf of Mexico, a body of water that influences and shapes our daily lives.

Roy Slade 
Clearwater, Florida. 
January 2008.

"Jasper Johns Prints: Things the Mind Already Knows"

The Arts Center, St Petersburg, Florida. 
January 30-May 30, 2009. 

JASPER JOHNS

Jasper Johns is, in himself and through his art, an American icon. When asked to write on him for this exhibition of prints, I was reluctant. What more could be written? So much has been said; just enter his name on the internet, the entries are endless. What could I say? As is my nature, I became curious: what made these prints extraordinary? How could I explain and, most important, share my admiration for Johns? I am interested and intrigued by the abstract qualities of the work: color, marks, gesture, shape, form, texture. The visual vocabulary of art is the basis for modernism; no longer is the artist a copyist. Like music, art has become an orchestration of pure elements; to be enjoyed for itself as a visual delight. I admire the manipulation, magic and mystery seen in the prints of Jasper Johns.

The exhibition “Jasper Johns Prints: Things the Mind Already Knows” comes from the John and Maxine Belger Foundation. Their collection contains the work of many fine artists with a remarkable focus on the work of a few ‘core’ artists: Terry Allen, William Christenberry, Jasper Johns, Robert Stackhouse, Renee Stout, William Wiley and Terry Winters. By comprehensive collecting of the work of these ‘core’ artists, the unique opportunity exists to view, in depth, their creative careers and artistic innovation; as evident in these prints by Jasper Johns. According to Dick Belger, the artists are of interest because their work is a metaphor for their lives. The collector feels that these artists take risks, pushing their art to limits, making that which is ordinary appear extraordinary. Coincidentally, I admire the work of these artists. I have known Bill Christenberry and Bob Stackhouse for over forty years; I have followed their careers and creativity and, as a museum director, exhibited their work.

I met with Dick Belger to find out more about the collection. Dick says that he and his father John were encouraged to collect fine art by the gallery owner and arts advocate Myra Morgan in Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to meeting Ms Morgan, they had been collecting cars, guns, coins and decorative arts like French cameo art glass and Tiffany glass; another remarkable and comprehensive group of work owned by the Foundation. Belger recalls going to the home of a collector and seeing contemporary art hanging on the walls, including a large painting by James Rosenquist. Until that moment, Dick thought art was only to be shown in museums not in private homes; in his words, “It was an epiphany”.

I was fascinated to find out that the first work of contemporary art purchased by Dick Belger was by Jasper Johns: the 1971 lithograph “Fragment-According to What (Coat Hanger and Spoon)”. There is much more to the story of the Foundation and its mission but I am writing of Jasper Johns. Accordingly, I asked Dick about his interest in Johns and the reason for acquiring, in 1971, this particular print. Belger responded, "First of all, Jasper Johns was American, on the cutting edge, and living and working during my time; as opposed to the historical focus of my previous collecting with my father. It was clear to me he was looking at the world through a different set of eyes. He was taking everyday, lowly objects, changing them and elevating them into art. In learning that this print was one of several elements of the painting ‘According to What’, it showed how the artist takes an idea and re-works it over and over again to develop it into a different idea or viewpoint. I knew my life had changed forever - I would never view it the same after buying that print."

Jasper Johns is one of the most important American artists of his time; he emerged in the late 1950’s and, to this day, his work is of change, challenge and controversy. His paintings of flags, numbers, targets, maps and simple images, with pure paint and sensuous surfaces, made him famous. He incorporated mixed media from plaster to encaustic in his paintings; he made sculptures and collages; he became one of the greatest of printmakers.

Jasper Johns was born 1930 in Georgia; grew up in South Carolina; moved to New York; served in the Korean War; returned to Soho and, in 1954, painted his first flag. In 1958, the famed dealer Leo Castelli presented his first one man show; that year, his work was shown at the Venice Biennale and the Pittsburgh Biennale. He worked on performances with Robert Rauschenberg; an intense and short friendship. Johns was accepted, had arrived and continues as a major force and influence in American Art; these are the basic facts, much more has been written in books, catalogs and articles. In 1997, the Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of his work and a comprehensive publication “Jasper Johns”. At the moment, through mid February ‘09, MOMA is presenting an exhibition from their collection of paintings, drawings and prints entitled “Focus: Jasper Johns”. His work continues to intrigue, to be reevaluated and recognized throughout the world.

The story is told of Tatyana Grossman leaving lithography stones on Johns’ studio steps in 1960. Johns, Rauschenberg and an assistant struggled to get them up the stairs; the rest is history. Later that year, Johns produced his first published print “Target” with Tatyana, founder of Universal Limited Art Editions (U.L.A.E.) On a personal note, I visited her workshop, located on Long Island, in the mid 70’s; Bob Rauschenberg was working on a print. In this small, somewhat remote studio, the revival of lithography occurred; with remarkable and innovative techniques. Initially, Johns may not have expressed an interest in making prints but he liked experimenting and messing around with media. Most important, he realized that prints allowed him the opportunity for endless variations on the same theme; he became captivated by the printmaking process. From one motif or image, he saw limitless possibilities. Johns could make marks, erase them, add and change; the process of exploration and variation is obvious throughout his work. His concern with the magic of the mark and the rich potential of surface becomes ever apparent. Printmaking encouraged experimentation and repetition; moreover, the possibilities of challenging techniques fascinated the artist.

Printmaking is a collaborative endeavor; Johns worked with master printmakers not only at U.L.A.E. but at other workshops including Gemini in Los Angeles. The process of making prints is collaboration: the artist provides the ‘magic’ whereas ‘mastery’ of techniques comes from the master printer. In Johns’ case, each pushed and challenged the other; the resulting experimentation and innovation were revolutionary, changing the nature and potential of lithography, screen printing and etching. Jasper Johns constantly challenges technical possibilities of printmaking. For him, repetition and restatement offer fascinating ways to deal with sameness and difference, elements evident throughout his work. The artist admits his admiration for Paul Cezanne, the father of Modern Art, who pushed pictorial space in new ways; as Johns says, Cezanne “makes looking equivalent to touching”. Another artist that is an influence is Marcel Duchamp who dealt with everyday objects, contradictions and paradoxes. Mention should also be made of the tradition of trompe l’oeil painting for Johns does trick the eye into perceiving a false reality.

The unique and comprehensive collection of Jasper Johns prints from the Belger Foundation offers a rare opportunity to see his prodigious influence on printmaking and the art of our time. The prints show the manipulation of surface, both spatially and sensuously, with visual variations, a pictorial music; sometimes complex compositions and, on other occasions, simple arrangements. Many of the images are derived from his paintings; prints allow Johns the opportunity to explore infinite variations. He transforms the image by using different media; experimenting with and exploiting the different printmaking processes.

Printmaking is a process and an art form; the process can produce multiples of the same piece, which is a print, usually made on paper. With the creativity, eye and hand of the artist, often working with a master printer, fine prints may be created; certainly that is true with Jasper Johns. Traditional techniques are lithography, serigraphy, etching and woodblock. Johns pushes these techniques beyond their limits; his innovations changed the nature of printmaking.

“Usuyuki” 1981 is a silkscreen or serigraph; with twelve screens, the imagery is complex and compelling with grids, circles, marks, and eccentric elements laid over newspaper print with a softness and subtlety of the color. Like much of his work, the print is of deception and delight, puzzlement and pleasure. “Green Angel 2” 1997, an intaglio or etching with six copper plates, is of darker hue with heavy shapes; wash and lines. The arrangements of shapes push visually outside the edge, adding to the complexity and contradiction. The imagery seems abstract but the hint of lips and eyes add to the pleasurable paradox. “Untitled” 1997 is an intaglio using one copper plate to produce compelling and complicated imagery. The work is gray, a color that pervades the prints and paintings; an exhibition “Jasper Johns: Gray” was presented, a year ago, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Even in this monochromatic print, the shades and hues are many as are the images: floor plan, ladders, stick figures combine in an imaginative intricacy; multilayered and mysterious. “Savarin” 1977 is a striking image with strong imagery, line, color and gesture. The lithograph uses seventeen aluminum plates; the master printer Bill Goldston worked with Johns, as did other master printers over the years. Printmaking is a collaborative and creative process.

The prints reveal mastery of many media; Johns uses pencil, pen, brush, crayon, wax, plaster. The artist is constantly experimenting with printmaking; he challenges and changes process. He likes to make washes, cut shapes and incise lines. The imagery is equally complex. The prints include flags, targets and numbers; symbols that became part of American Pop Art. The numbers are fascinating in that the imagery was amongst the first of the prints, revealing the ability to make the mundane become magical. With overlapping of numbers, Johns makes us think of sequence and repetition within terms of visual abstraction. “Untitled” 1998 is a large print showing the letters of the primary colors, red, blue and yellow. Paradoxically those colors, except blue, are not evident; yet there is complexity of imagery to intrigue the viewer. The 1987 intaglios “The Seasons” render fascinating figurative imagery, an insight into an interior and self? Jasper Johns offers the ultimate paradox of an artist: private yet public, reticent yet revealing. His inner self, thoughts, fears and fantasies are there for us to see in his work; through these prints, we are offered glimpses into what his mind already knows.

The title of the exhibition, selected by curator Amanda Cooper, comes from the artist. Jasper Johns said, "Using the design of the American flag took care of a great deal for me because I didn't have to design it. So I went on to similar things like the targets---things the mind already knows. That gave me room to work on other levels." This exhibition allows us to enjoy the many levels of his work: seductive surface, colorful contrasts, visual variations, aesthetic ambiguity and pure pleasure offered in the prints of Jasper Johns.

Roy Slade 
Clearwater, Florida 
January 2009.

Director Emeritus, Cranbrook Art Museum 
Former Director, Corcoran Gallery of Art.