Jasper Johns Authentic Moratorium Limited Edition Print Pop Art Icon Vietnam
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Artist: Jasper Johns
Medium: Lithograph on woven paper
Size 17.25" x 25.75
Published: Committee Against the War in Vietnam
The piece is signed in pencil and numbered by Jasper Johns.
Moratorium is not like other iconic Flags created by Jasper Johns, the American Pop Artist. It’s rather an opposite, a negative image of the famous star-spangled banner. After concentrating on the white center, viewers can see the glimpse of the red, white and blue flag once they turn their eyes towards a white sheet of paper.
Commissioned in 1969 by the famous art dealer Leo Castelli, the piece was created as a symbolic poster for the National Vietnam Moratorium, a series of antiwar marches and demonstrations. On the day of the protest, over 30 million of Americans protested against the U.S. involvement in the armed conflict.
The selection of Jasper Johns was deliberate, since the artist was famous for his creations of American flag variations. Following his own vision of the nation and the culture, Johns created a strange-looking flag, a septic metaphor of the actual national symbol. The off-color green stripes allude to the military uniform of the American troops, while the anemic orange tones make reference to the lethal herbicide “Agent Orange”, often employed by the U.S. military at the time. The curious white circle in the center marks a bullet hole. Through the combination of highly symbolic imagery, Johns conceived a design which made an accurate portrayal of America, diseased and divided by war.
The original Moratorium flag image served as a poster supported by millions and consequently, became one of the most famous emblems of the Vietnam War period.
A rare series of 300 special edition prints was created after the poster to raise money for the antiwar movement. The piece on offer here is one belonging to the series, numbered 256 out of 300.
About Jasper Johns
An avant-garde Jasper Johns is considered one of the most influential American artists today, whose artistic legacy echoes through every art movement since the 1950s. Reacting to the overly sensitive nature of Abstract Expressionism, Johns was profoundly influenced by Marcel Duchamp. In the dadaist tradition, Johns began contextualizing his work, treating the meaning as far more important than the medium itself. Still, he was dedicated to artmaking and the use of unconventional materials, having introduced innovations in various printmaking techniques. His practice abounded with objects from everyday life rendered as fine art pieces, which bridged the gap between the haute artistic world and the broad audience. Johns’ oeuvre is most often recognized for its powerful flag imagery, filled with paintings of targets, numbers or maps.
Addressing a wide range of population through obvious appropriations, Johns has actively participated in the making of Pop Art movement. His exploration of communication and the way in which people observed the world also served as a springboard for Conceptual art and consequently, for postmodern art.
During his prolific career, Johns collaborated with prominent artists including John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, laying a foundation for experimental movements of the 1960s and 1970s such as performance, Fluxus or body art.
The art of Jasper Johns is usually defined as Neo-Dada, pertinent to a group of American avant-gardists, who have together disrupted the balance in modernist tradition and directed the attention towards experimentation and interactive potential of art.
Jasper Johns was born in 1930 in Augusta, Georgia. He is based in New York, NY.