Matthew Marks Gallery



Essay by Scott Rothkopf

Clothbound with jacket
121 pages
81 images
12 × 10 inches; 31 × 26 cm
ISBN 3865211623

Co-published with Steidl

Jasper Johns is universally admired as one of the world’s greatest living artists, and his presentation of a new body of work is a rare occasion and a cause for celebration. This volume reproduces for the first time the complete series of works he made after installing his 1996 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Returning to his studio in Connecticut to wipe the slate clean, he began a new body of work that was a dramatic departure from anything he had made before. The first painting includes a string hanging from upper right to lower left, generating what’s known as a catenary curve, and this curve soon became the compositional backbone of the entire series.

Johns produced a total of sixty-one paintings, drawings, and prints based on the catenary, all of which are reproduced in this volume. The works are saturated with autobiographical references, both transparent and opaque, yet they contain multiple layers of meaning. Sensual surfaces, fragile constructions, and formal rigor meet allusions to key moments in the history of modern art and motifs from the artist’s earlier work. The poetry of the Catenary series is explored in an illustrated essay by scholar Scott Rothkopf, and the works are generously illustrated in full color.