Jasper Johns Baffles Beautifully

THE DAILY PIC: At MoMA, his new work is as complex as ever.

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This is one of the studies from a very recent series of pictures called Regrets, by Jasper Johns and on view for a few more days in a little show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The series leaves me speechless. Not with pleasure (quite) or even awe (really). It’s more a kind of allover amazement, at the fact that even after all these many decades, Johns makes objects of such amazing depth and complexity–and recalcitrance.

Rather than wearing their hearts, or brains, or even good looks on their sleeve, Johns’s new works, like his old, are about a certain refusal of meaning–almost a total rejection of communication–that’s built around a definite sense that there’s meaning in there, if only you look hard enough.

You could say it’s a kind of aesthetic speaking in tongues. Rapture’s involved. (© Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; photo by Jerry Thompson)

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