Map (1961) by Jasper Johns

Map - Jasper Johns - 1961

Artwork Information

ArtistJasper Johns
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions198.1 x 312.7 cm (78 x 123 1/8 in)
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art, New York

About Map

Artist Jasper Johns created the painting Map in 1961, which features the countries of the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Johns chose the map for its ubiquity and iconicity, as well as to explore the concept of knowing an image rather than just seeing it. The painting is part of his larger exploration of using easily recognizable images, such as flags and targets, in his work.

The names of states and ocean areas are stenciled in bold letters on the surface of Map. The color scheme consists primarily of reds, blues, yellows mixed with grey shades. The colorful application creates an energetic mood that captures modern America’s vibrancy while celebrating key geographical locales.

Map is surrounded by a simple wooden frame that complements its design without detracting from it. This modern American artwork has become a teaching and learning resource at MoMA because it manages to convey multiple layers of meaning through its simplistic design language combined with a bold approach to color placement.

Johns destroyed his previous work was destroyed during mid-1950s before he began painting motifs like numbers, flags, maps and more. As one of Johns’ most famous paintings that represented both his exploration into pop art’s range aesthetic options and critical self-awareness as an artist seeking new forms within contemporary art movements makes this artwork all the more fascinating through time even though it was considered controversial when first displayed due to its uniqueness in thematic contextually which encountered difficulty with conventional artistic practices.

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