The Rapidian

Grand Rapids Art Museum Presents An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960-2018

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Exhibition surveys six decades of Johns’ practice in printmaking

/Target, 1974 Screenprint on paper 35 1/8 x 27 3/8 in. ed. 3/70 Collection Walker Art Center, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton, 1988 © Jasper Johns/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

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Museum Hours

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 12 - 6 pm (Meijer Free Day)

Thursday: 12 - 9 pm (Meijer Free Day, 5 - 9 pm)

Friday: 10 am - 4 pm

Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm

Sunday: Closed 

This fall, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) will present the first major exhibition of Jasper Johns prints in two decades, An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960 – 2018. On view at the Museum from October 2 through January 8, 2022, the exhibition surveys six decades of Johns’ practice in printmaking through a selection of some 90 works in a wide range of techniques. 

When Johns’ paintings of flags and targets debuted in 1958, they brought him instant acclaim and established him as a critical link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. In the ensuing 60 years, he has continued to astonish viewers with the beauty and complexity of his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints. His imagery has grown to include objects found in the studio, abstract patterns glimpsed in the environment, souvenirs from his childhood, and quotations from his own and others’ artworks. 

An Art of Changes invites guests to engage with one of the most inventive minds in 20th century art,” commented GRAM Director and CEO Dana Friis-Hansen. ​I look forward to welcoming our members and guests to immerse themselves in the rich range of Jasper Johns’ beautiful, thought-provoking prints.” 

Johns created his first print, a lithograph of a target, in 1960. Since then, he has reworked many of his paintings in print form, using strategies and techniques such as fragmenting, doubling, reversing, and varying scale or color. To date, he has created more than 350 prints in intaglio, lithography, wood and linoleum cut, screen printing, lead relief, and blind embossing. 

An Art of Changes is one of the most beautiful exhibitions I have seen at GRAM,” said GRAM Chief Curator Ron Platt. ​Making prints was just as important to Johns as making paintings, and over his long career he mastered the full range of printmaking processes and materials. Johns is rightly known as a deep thinker, but this exhibition proves how much he also loved working with different materials and processes to create works that dazzle the eye.” 

The exhibition follows Johns’ deep fascination with printmaking and is organized in four thematic sections: Signs & Systems, In the Studio, Surfaces, and Traces. Viewers will see examples of the artist’s recognizable flags, targets, and numerals as well as images that incorporate the tools, materials, and techniques of mark-making; abstract works derived from images of flagstones and hatch marks; and more recent works that teem with autobiographical and personal imagery. Throughout, we follow Johns’ creative process chronologically as he reconsiders and revises some of these key motifs over time. 

GRAM Members are invited to the exhibition opening of An Art of Changes on Friday, October 1. Complementing the exhibition, GRAM Members and the public can participate in several related programming and events,including drop-in tours, gallery chats, and workshops in GRAM Studio for a variety of ages and skill levels. Guests are encouraged to view the Museum’s updated visitor guidelines in advance of their visit, which includes face mask requirements for all visitors while indoors. 

Member Exhibition Opening: An Art of Changes 
Friday, October 1, 5 — 8 pm 
Free, GRAM Member event 
GRAM Members and their guests are invited to celebrate the opening of An Art of Changes at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Explore the galleries and hear from our knowledgeable docents who will be stationed throughout the exhibition. Register here.

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum 
Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the art museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th-century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft. 

For museum hours and admission fees, call 616.831.1000 or visit ArtMuseumGR.org. 

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