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Jasper Johns to be Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom Tomorrow

Jasper Johns will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom tomorrow afternoon at the White House. It will be the first time in thirty-four years that a painter or sculptor has won the nation’s highest civilian honor, reports Mike Boehm for the Los Angeles Times. The White House has announced that it will stream the ceremony live on its website at 10:30 AM Pacific/1:30 PM Eastern Time.

Obama joins John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford as the only presidents who have given a medal to a painter or sculptor. Boehm notes that Ford didn’t precisely give a medal to Alexander Calder, the only sculptor honored to date. When he tried in 1976, Calder refused it in protest of US treatment of Vietnam-era draft evaders and deserters; the two had a history that went beyond that. Ford gave Calder the medal––posthumously––in 1977.

A full list of recipients can be found here.

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