In June 2012, Jasper Johns encountered a photograph of the painter Lucian Freud reproduced in a Christie's auction catalogue. Inspired not only by the image, but by the physical qualities of the photograph itself, Johns took this motif through a succession of cross-medium permutations. He also incorporated into his art the text of a rubber stamp he had had made several years earlier to allow him to efficiently decline the myriad requests and invitations that come his way: "Regrets/Jasper Johns." But the stamp's text also calls to mind the more familiar connotations of regret, such as loss, disappointment and remorse, evoking an enigmatic sense of melancholy. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of this series of paintings, drawings and prints created over the last year and a half through an intricate combination of techniques, this publication presents each of the new works in full color. An essay by Ann Temkin, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Christophe Cherix, Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art, examines the importance of process and experimentation, the cycle of dead ends and fresh starts, and the incessant interplay of materials, meaning, and representation so characteristic of Johns' career over the last 60 years.
Ann Temkin is an American art curator, and currently the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.