Universal Limited Art Editions Lithograph.
Printer - Robert Blackburn.
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Jasper Johns Survey to Open at Belger Arts Center
March 3 - September 2, 2017
Opening Reception, Friday, March 3, 2017, 6-9 PM
Belger Arts Center
2100 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64108
In 1960 Tatyana Grosman, founder of Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), invited the young artist Jasper Johns to work at her lithography printshop on Long Island. Johns' friend Robert Rauschenberg advised against the project, saying the mid-twentieth century was no time for artists to be writing on rocks. After a few ground-breaking projects for Johns, Rauschenberg also began producing prints at ULAE. And American printmaking was never the same.
On March 3, 2017, “Jasper Johns: Prints” will begin a six-month run at the Belger Arts Center. Dozens of prints, covering 40 years of the artist's output will be on display. All the prints are in the Belger Collection, which was started when Dick Belger bought “Fragment: According to What (Coat Hanger and Spoon)” in 1971. Eventually Belger added Johns' first two prints with ULAE, “Target” and “0-9”, to the collection. “Target” and “0-9” were done in collaboration with the legendary African-American printmaker, Robert Blackburn. Belger continued to track Johns’ prolific print career into the 21st century.
The prints were last shown publicly in Kansas City in 2007 during the Southern Graphics Council conference. In the last decade the prints have been exhibited at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC., plus additional arts venues in Florida, New York, and Johns' home state South Carolina. Since the summer of 2012 the prints have been in storage in Kansas City.
ULAE is not the only print shop represented in this exhibition. GEMINI G.E.L of Los Angeles is also represented, including a set of six lead-reliefs created in the late 1960s. Due to the sensitive surface of the leads, they are rarely loaned to exhibitions. “Jasper Johns: Prints” will also include mezzotints, intaglios, and silkscreened images.
In the mid-1950s, after a stint in the US Army, Johns began creating a body of work featuring familiar imagery such as flags, numbers, and targets. This imagery was a strong departure from the popular abstract expressionism. During this time, he supported himself doing window displays for a department store. Three years of intensive studio exploration lead to Johns' first solo exhibition, with the Leo Castelli Gallery. The show of paintings and sculpture was a sensation and the Museum of Modern Art took three pieces. That night Johns grabbed his former art teacher from the University of South Carolina, Catherine Rembert, and danced in the gallery. By 1959 Time magazine called Johns “the brand-new darling of the art world's bright, brittle avant-garde.” He would go on to become one of the true giants of American art.
The Belger Arts Center opened in March of 2000 and has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors from around the world. The Belger Crane Yard Studios joined the Belger Arts family tree in 2013 and provides galleries and studio space for more than 60 artists in the East Crossroads Arts District. For more information contact Belger Arts Gallery Assistant Mo Dickens at firstname.lastname@example.org.