Just like movie lovers can’t wait for the summer blockbuster, art mavens mark their calendars for the must-see shows of the season.
The Phillips Collection announced Tuesday that Jasper Johns will be its main summer feature. The museum is organizing its first-ever show of modern master Johns. It opens June 2, along with an exhibition of acclaimed British artist Antony Gormley.
This will provide a break from the expected Washington heat with 90 works of Johns’s alone on view in the air conditioned halls of the Phillips museum. The city hasn’t had a true immersion in Johns, now 81, since the National Gallery of Art blockbuster shows in 2009-2010, 2007, 2001 and 1990.
“Jasper Johns: Variations on a Theme,” will examine the work he created, starting back in 1960, to his current subjects. The exhibition will provide visual lessons in how Johns broke barriers in printmaking and continues to return to many of his earlier symbols. The show will have the well-known interpretations of American flags, numbers, targets and letters.
“Jasper Johns’s persistent experimentation not only transformed printmaking but set the standard for contemporary art,” said the Phillips director Dorothy Kosinski.
The show will include a 1967 work owned by the Phillips: “The Critic Sees.”
In 2011 President Obama awarded Johns the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the country gives an individual in any field. The National Gallery of Art has the largest public repository of Johns’s working materials related to his edition prints in the world.
“Antony Gormley: Drawing Space,” is the first major U.S. exhibition of drawings by the contemporary artists, the museum announced. His sculpture, installations and public projects have been praised around the world, and in 1994 he received the prestigious Turner Prize.