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Device, 1961—62

Jasper Johns

Dallas Museum of Art

During the 1950's and 1960's Johns created a series of modern icons—maps, numbers, the American flag—which were notable for their vibrant, colored textures. Elements of ordinary life were suddenly given an improbable aesthetic richness. In "Device", the element of ironic play is the subject of the painting, which includes segments of circles and actual canvas stretchers, as well as the word DEVICE. The forms suggest geometry, construction, and the Renaissance idea of the artist as a master craftsman, while the wealth of blue and red-orange paint, thick and palpable to the touch, suggests messiness at odds with the careful manufacture of its surface.

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