The Condition of Being Here Drawings by Jasper Johns David Breslin

Publication date:
16 Oct 2018
The Menil Collection
120 pages: 241 x 184mm
45 color illus.

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) has been a leading advocate of drawing as an artistic genre in its own right, rather than as a preparatory medium for other works. This catalogue gathers nearly 40 of Johns’s drawings, spanning 60 years of his illustrious career, beginning with 1954, and the start of his mature practice. It encompasses his most famous recurring motifs, including flags, targets, and numbers; the essay by David Breslin contextualizes this reiterative aspect of Johns’s career. Exquisite reproductions reveal the touch and process of this master draftsman, imparting to the reader a feeling of being in close contact with the artist himself. As this intimate book shows, Johns’s work, at once matter-of-fact and enigmatic, is above all a meditation on the world around him, a constant investigation of what he calls “the condition of being here.”


David Breslin is the curator and director of the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and is the former chief curator of the Menil Drawing Institute.