Jasper Johns’ extensive body of work, while not overtly political, has been interpreted as quietly so. It has been seen to manifest coded pronouncements about sexual identity through consistent investigations and representations of the body, uses of language, and humor. Among the myriad of interpretations of Johns’ work, a political or activist analysis is possible, but this has, at times, been overlooked in favor of an aesthetic or populist analysis that disregards any inherent political message.
Today, a target roundel in a work of fine art might seem fairly unremarkable; yet sixty years ago, in a very different social and political climate, Jasper Johns’ Target paintings were freighted with hidden meanings. Pictured: l-r Art in Society enthusiasts Joaquin Eaton Sharon, Alex Kuykendall, Hannah Wakelin.