Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns, Jr. (born May 15, 1930) is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking. Born in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns spent his early life in Allendale, South Carolina. Recounting this period in his life, he says, "In the place where I was a child, there were no artists and there was no art, so I really didn't know what that meant. I think I thought it meant that I would be in a situation different than the one that I was in." He began drawing when he was three and has continued doing art ever since.

In 1954, after returning to New York, Johns met Robert Rauschenberg and they became long term lovers. Abstract Expressionist figures like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning ascribed to the concept of a macho "artist hero," and their paintings are indexical in that they stand effectively as a signature on canvas. In contrast, Neo-Dadaists like Johns and Rauschenberg seemed preoccupied with a lessening of the reliance of their art on indexical qualities, seeking instead to create meaning solely through the use of conventional symbols.

On February 15, 2011 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, becoming the first painter or sculptor to receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom since Alexander Calder in 1977.

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