Target (1955) by Jasper Johns

Target - Jasper Johns - 1955

Artwork Information

ArtistJasper Johns
Art MovementNeo-Dada
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About Target

“Target,” created by Jasper Johns in 1955, is a notable work within the Neo-Dada art movement. This symbolic painting, executed using encaustic on canvas, is part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, NY, US. The artwork dissolves the boundaries between object and art, a characteristic role of the Neo-Dada aesthetic.

The artwork prominently features a target motif, which comprises concentric circles in bold primary colors: blue, yellow, and red. The circular pattern immediately draws the eye to the center, emulating the function of an actual target. Above the colorful rings, Johns has integrated a curious element: a series of cast faces in slight relief, peering out from a shelf-like structure. The juxtaposition of the human features with the impersonal target challenges the viewer to find meaning or interaction between the two disparate elements. The texture of the work, attributable to the encaustic technique—a process that involves blending pigment with hot wax—adds depth and a tactile quality to the surface. Johns’s “Target” invites contemplation on the nature of symbolism and the everyday objects that permeate our lives.

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