Jasper Johns
Flag, 1960-1969

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Artist name
Jasper Johns
Date created
16 7/8 in. × 23 in. × 1 1/4 in. (42.86 cm × 58.42 cm × 3.18 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Janss
© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York, NY
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Audio Stories

Hear about Johns’s affinity for the color gray

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Jasper Johns has often said that grey is his favorite color. But of course, it’s not a color at all, and I think that’s part of the point. It’s indeterminate. There is an infinite range of shades between the poles of black on the one side and white on the other. And this, maybe, is the second important point; that grey denies the very idea of polarities, say between black and white. It exists in the in between zones, and what we even metaphorically call, kind of quote-unquote, “grey areas.” So grey refutes emotionalism it avoids the distractions of color. It enhances the cultivation of a cool, dispassionate stance that Johns favors, always. So I think in the end, when we’re thinking about Johns, the use of grey is not something equivalent to a color choice, it’s about a condition of being. It’s almost its own medium. 

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