Jasper Johns: “The Colors”; “The Maps”; “The Devices”.

THE STRANDS OF JASPER JOHN’S activity as they interlaced in 1959 are extremely complex. Belonging to this year, for example, are Shade, False Start, Jubilee, Two Flags, Black Target, Highway, Thermometer, and Device Circle. If we look ahead, he was not to finish Figure 5 until 1960, and Good Time Charley until 1961. Clearly, then, the standards of continuity which would judge some works of art to be stragglers at a given moment, and others premature arrivals, do not apply in this instance. For the processes of hybridization and deliberate mismating are the control factors in an outlook which simply does not organize itself by any modulating line or overt transition. Rather, Johns is so little given to sentimentalizing his motifs, or bothered by repetition, that he can push them through the maze of his various strategies like so many esthetic pawns. Permutation is the only guidepost in that

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