Jasper Johns: Divide and conquer

Jasper Johns: Divide and conquer

“Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror,” the largest survey of the artist’s work anywhere to date, officially opens Wednesday, and is designed to be not just a blockbuster, but a blockbuster x 2. The American artist’s last East Coast survey, at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 1996, had 225 works; the new one has twice that number. The earlier show filled two floors of MoMA; this one spreads over two museums, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It looks differently splendid at each. Should you make an effort to see both halves? Absolutely. They’ve been designed as separate but complementary experiences, and each, though different in content and emphasis, tells a full Johns story. Yet it’s the story they tell together that’s the truer one, the one that lets a notoriously complicated body of art look and feel as richly original as it really is. And that richer view seems necessary given that, despite Johns&
“Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror,” the largest survey of the artist’s work anywhere to date, officially opens Wednesday, and is designed to be not just a blockbuster, but a blockbuster x 2. The American artist’s last East Coast survey, at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art in 1996, had 225 works; the new one has twice that number. The earlier show filled two floors of MoMA; this one spreads over two museums, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It looks differently splendid at each. Should you make an effort to see both halves? Absolutely. They’ve been designed as separate but complementary experiences, and each, though different in content and emphasis, tells a full Johns story. Yet it’s the story they tell together that’s the truer one, the one that lets a notoriously complicated body of art look and feel as richly original as it really is. And that richer view seems necessary given that, despite Johns&