Matthew Marks Gallery

Drawings 1997–2007


Essay by Thomas Crow

Clothbound with jacket
100 pages
56 images
11¾ × 9¼ inches; 30 × 24 cm
ISBN 9781880146484

In this collection of works on paper made between 1997 and 2007, most of which had never before been reproduced, Johns “preempts the tendency of commentators to cite his productions of decades past by doing the job himself," writes Thomas Crow in his essay. The works are filled with autobiographical references and allusions to art-historical precursors. Many combine early motifs like flags, maps, numerals, and cross-hatching with newer ones, like Harlequin’s costume, pieces of string, or flagstones. ”This recursivity is habitual,” says Crow. “There is virtually no motif or device that Johns has ever used that can be regarded as safely forgotten or discarded. When asked about the longevity of certain of these motifs, Johns replies half-seriously that he would like to get rid of them, but they will not go away. In his gradually expanding network of emblems and objects, any one of them, it seems, can strike up a relationship with any other, such that the outcome almost never prompts thoughts of exhaustion or absence of invention. A single addition, like the bits of string suspended in catenary curves that made their appearance around 1996, has a way of regalvanizing the entire existing repertory.”