PRINT April 1976

Jasper John’s New Paintings

The aim of every authentic artist is not to conform to the history of art but to release himself from it, in order to replace it with his own history.

––Harold Rosenberg, in Art on the Edge

LEO STEINBERG WAS HIS MOST ELOQUENT spokesman, but he wrote nothing else after that watershed monograph of 1962. Articles about his new art tend to be generous sighs about the iconic images of the ’50s, which have been reworked in the graphic—mostly lithographic—works of the past few years. The only continuous work we see is of uncertain interest: it can be boringly repetitious (Ale Cans, 1975), messy, complex and repetitious (the Decoys, 1971–73), brilliant even if repetitious (the “Body Part” series, 1974), or brilliantly repetitious (Double Flag, 1970–72).1 His singular reputation has released him from the pressure of the annual one-person show that almost every other artist finds necessary in the

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