Working in shades of gray was an important thematic and visual thread in the work of Jasper Johns (b. 1930) starting in the mid-1950s and extending throughout his career. His fascination with color, and lack thereof, is found in the 1963 painting Periscope (Hart Crane) which is featured on this banner. Using a palette limited to white, black, and grays he stencils the names of other colors upon them to imply color without actually applying those colors.
Johns also used a number of other motifs throughout his career, and several of these are found in the painting. His interest in rotation and movement is symbolized by the round target. His exploration of body imprints is seen by the paint-stamped imprint of his hand extending from the circle.
In this particular work, the outstretched hand and forearm may also refer to the dramatic suicide drowning of the American poet Hart Crane, as referenced in the work’s title. Crane was troubled by his homosexuality, and ultimately his drinking and depression led him to jump into the Gulf of Mexico when he was just 32. But despite his short career his modernist poetry has proven influential. In his poem Interior Crane wrote:
It sheds a shy solemnity,
This lamp in our poor room.
O grey and gold amenity,
Silence and gentle gloom!
Below the image on the banner, white and gray text on a blue background reads "Jasper Johns/Gray/The Art Institute of Chicago" and includes the dates of the exhibition "November 3 - January 6". Both sides of this banner are identical. Another banner from the exhibition features Johns’s 1961 drawing 0 through 9
These banners were displayed around downtown Chicago from November 3, 2007 through January 6, 2008 to promote the exhibition, Jasper Johns: Gray at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition was also seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Jasper Johns (b. 1930) grew up the son of a farmer in Augusta, Georgia. After studying briefly at the University of South Carolina, he moved to New York City and began studies at the Parsons School of Design. In 1949, he was drafted by the Army and stationed in Japan during the Korean War. After his time in the military he returned to New York where he lived for a time with fellow artist, Robert Rauschenberg. Starting in the 1950’s Johns’s work explored a number of concepts and symbols, and he worked with wax encaustic, paint, sculpture, plaster relief, and found objects. His work contains elements of Pop Art and Abstraction, but he is often described as a Neo-Dadaist.
Exhibition: Jasper Johns: Gray
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 30" x 99"
(76.2cm x 251.5cm)
Summary The exhibition "Jasper Johns: Gray" was one of the first to explore this fascinating period of Johns's work. Bringing together some 120 works in various media, the exhibition showed that even with a dearth of color, artistry and beauty can be achieved.14 banners from the exhibition's run at The Art Institute of Chicago are now available featuring his 1963 painting "Periscope (Hart Crane)".
Hanging your banner
Hanging your banner is easy – just put a few screws in the wall or ceiling and PRESTO, you’re ready to display your beautiful banner. To make it even easier, each BetterWall banner comes with a free hanging system that gives the impression that your banner is floating just an inch off the wall.
Caring for your banner
Your banner is a unique and durable piece of art. Having been displayed outside, it has weathered the elements and remained beautiful—so it can obviously take a lot of wear and tear! Slight scuffs, small smudges, or minor creases are not noticeable when the banner is hung, and are a part of the banner’s authentic appeal.
Storing your banner
When not on display, your banner can be rolled and stored in the tube provided. Always roll your banner from the bottom and place it in a cool place.