Seeing double with Jasper Johns

Seeing double with Jasper Johns

On a recent Saturday morning, I arrived at the stone house in Sharon, Connecticut, and found Jasper Johns outside on the lawn, tending to a massive oak tree. An infestation of gypsy moths was visible on the trunk; gauzy deposits of tiny eggs were imperiling the tree’s health. Johns, who was dressed neatly in khaki pants, a turquoise linen shirt and a pair of heavy yellow gloves, was using his hands to scrape the eggs off the bark. The moths’ gray wings fluttered wildly as they tumbled to the ground. In a summer when so much of the world was still reeling from COVID-19, it was heartening to think that at least a towering oak might be saved. I had started writing a biography of the artist a few years earlier, and was aware of his love of trees and plants, which probably bring him more satisfaction than social interactions do. He is something of a solitary creature, a man who is eloquent in his silences and prefers to skip his own openings. Two new ones are
On a recent Saturday morning, I arrived at the stone house in Sharon, Connecticut, and found Jasper Johns outside on the lawn, tending to a massive oak tree. An infestation of gypsy moths was visible on the trunk; gauzy deposits of tiny eggs were imperiling the tree’s health. Johns, who was dressed neatly in khaki pants, a turquoise linen shirt and a pair of heavy yellow gloves, was using his hands to scrape the eggs off the bark. The moths’ gray wings fluttered wildly as they tumbled to the ground. In a summer when so much of the world was still reeling from COVID-19, it was heartening to think that at least a towering oak might be saved. I had started writing a biography of the artist a few years earlier, and was aware of his love of trees and plants, which probably bring him more satisfaction than social interactions do. He is something of a solitary creature, a man who is eloquent in his silences and prefers to skip his own openings. Two new ones are