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Cover for The Condition of Being Here

The Condition of Being Here

Drawings by Jasper Johns (Menil Drawing Institute Series)

David Breslin


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Arguably the most important living artist in America, Jasper Johns (b. 1930) has been a leading advocate of drawing as an artistic genre in its own right, not just a preparatory medium for other works. This catalogue brings together 41 of Johns’s drawings, spanning more than 60 years of his illustrious career and, beginning in 1954, the origin of his mature practice. It encompasses his most famous recurring motifs, including flags, targets, and numbers, and an essay by David Breslin contextualizes this reiterative aspect of Johns’s career. Exquisite reproductions and large-scale details reveal the touch and process of this master draftsman, imparting to the reader a feeling of being in close contact with the artist himself. As this intimate book shows, Johns’s art, at once simple and enigmatic, is above all a meditation on the world around him, a constant investigation of what he calls “the condition of being here.”

The Menil Collection, 9780300229301, 112pp.

Publication Date: November 6, 2018

About the Author

David Breslin is the curator and director of the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the former John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Curator of Drawings at the Menil Collection.