Richard Shone


Some of the most rewarding exhibitions are those with a sharp focus on work culled from the seldom explored avenues, even wayward paths of an artist’s career. Reflexes snap to attention; the particular begins to inflect the whole. “JASPER JOHNS: THE SCULPTURES” was a perfect example of such a show. It was first seen at the Menil Foundation, Houston, then in the Henry Moore Sculpture Galleries at Leeds City Art Gallery. The grandiose presentation in Houston, or so I gather, was exchanged in Leeds for a more confined and confessional display. The impact was terrific. Here long-familiar images, modest-scaled icons of twentieth-century sculpture, the majority made within the space of a few years (1958–64), basked in a new context. Mysterious, contradictory, lumpen, shot through with both lip-curling humor and melancholy reserve, they were no longer footnotes to the paintings, but

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