PRINT September 1970

The Graphic Art of Jasper Johns, Part II

As we look back from the middle of the twentieth century, what makes a medium artistically important is not any quality of the medium itself but the qualities of mind and hand that its users bring to it.

—William Ivins, Prints and Visual Communication

By innovation is meant simply an emphasis to which the contemporary public is not accustomed. Thus, to a people improvident through excessive hopefulness, the artist who disclosed the cultural value of fear, distrust, or hypochondria would be an innovator. Any “transvaluation of values” is an innovation, though it be a reversion to an earlier value.

—Kenneth Burke, Counter-Statement

AROUND 1960 WE OBSERVED that fundamental changes regarding imagery, technique, medium and style occur in Johns’s paintings; and that many of the problems created by introducing new elements are resolved in his graphic work. Changes visible in oil paintings done in

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