True Blue – Jasper Johns At The Broad


If there was ever a reason to design a trip to Los Angeles between now and mid-May, the new exhibition at the Broad Museum, “Something Resembling Truth”, a retrospective of Jasper John’s work, presented in collaboration with The Royal Academy, London, would be it. This is made even more urgent given the fact that this is the show’s only U.S. stop. The exhibition title is taken from a 2006 interview in which Johns said, “Yet, one hopes for something resembling truth, some sense of life, even of grace, to flicker, at least, in the work.”  Here hope burns bright. 


Whether you’re just getting acquainted with John’s work or are a long-time fan, this show, the first full survey in more than a half century, which includes more than 120 pieces from public and private collections is, as Broad director Joanne Heyler, the host co-curator of the show alongside Associate Curator Ed Schad, accurately summed up, “transcendent”. Even a quick turn through the galleries, a glimpse of which is captured here, is enough to understand Johns influence on art. 


Tracing the evolution of the artist’s wide-ranging practice through a series of thematic chapters, the show stretches across the full range of Johns’ materials, motifs and techniques—including his unique use of encaustic (heated beeswax) and found-material collage in paintings—and the innovations he has achieved in sculpture and the graphic arts by expanding the possibilities of traditional media.

Organized thematically, early and late works are grouped together showing the artist’s evolution through their juxtaposition. The American flag paintings are huddled in the first room, starting the show off with a loud bang and it only gathers momentum from there: here, are all the typography works; there, the found materials collages; another space holds the targets. “In the Studio”, “Fragments and Faces”, “Seasons and Cycles”, “Time and Transience” are some of the other themes that cleverly thread together John’s long-ranging, inventive, revolutionary and influential career which impacted such disparate artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari and Sherrie Levine, among others.

Tickets are $25 for adults, free for children 17 and under, and will include same-day general admission for The Broad’s third floor galleries. In celebration of this rare opportunity to consider Johns’ entire career in depth, The Broad will host free First Thursdays with free standby admission to the special exhibition from 4-7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month during the exhibition’s run (so, for the calendar-challenged, that would be Mar. 1, Apr. 5 and May 3, 2018). The Broad will also be launching a diverse slate of public programming to be presented in conjunction with the show. 

Jasper Johns, “Something Resembling Truth, Feb 10 – May 13, 2018 at The Broad. Click here for tickets