Flag (from Lead Reliefs Series), 1969
17 x 23 in. (43.2 x 58.4 cm.)
Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX
Since the beginning of his career in the mid-1950s, Jasper Johns has been concerned with what he has called “things the mind already knows”—everyday images and objects, such as the American flag or a light bulb, so familiar that we scarcely truly see them anymore. Having established a range of such subjects, Johns has often returned to them to explore how they change when represented in different media. In this series of embossed lead reliefs, the artist revisited some of the themes of his past paintings and sculptures; Flag, for example, originates from a 1960 cast relief inspired by the tactile brushwork of his wax-based encaustic painted versions of the subject.