Throwing It Up

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John Cage
Visual Analysis Paper now due on Canvas!











Allan Kaprow, Notes on 18 Happenings in 6 Parts,
c. late 1950s.
Allan Kaprow, 18 Happening in 6 Parts, 1959.












Allan Kaprow, Fluids Happening, Performed in 2008 by CSULA Students.











Seeing Rauschenberg ’s White Paintings inspired composer John Cage to fully explore silence in his own work. Cage often worked with found sound, but credited the White Paintings with leading eventually to his most famous piece 4’33’’, where no sound is played by the musicians performing it.
4' 33"
John Cage, 4'33", 1952.











David Tudor 1952 performance
William Marx 2010 performance












Mierle Ukeles, Washing, 1973. Reperformed by Annee Grotte Viken in 2012.











1954 Jiro Yoshihara founded
the Gutai Art Association in Japan

Breaking Through

Gutai = concrete

In the Gutai Manifesto, Jirō Yoshihara defined Gutai as truth to the material of which art is made, and lifting that material to spiritual heights. He singled out Jackson Pollock and the French painter Georges Mathieu as artists who "grapple with the material in a way which is completely appropriate to it," and encouraged group members to emulate this approach.
Saburo Murakami, Breaking Through Many Paper Screens, 1956, Photo from the second Gutai exhibition.











Saburo Murakami, Iriguchi (Exit?), 1955 / 2012.











Challenging Mud

Kazuo Shiraga, Challenging Mud, 1955. Photo from the first Gutai exhibition.











Hurling Colors
Shozo Shimamoto performs Hurling Colors at the second Gutai Exhibition, 1956.











Atsuko Tanaka, Electrical Dress, 1956.












Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1955 - 1959.











Monogram first state
Monogram second state











monogram = a sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name
examples of mongrams
combine = a work (typically associated with Robert Rauschenberg) that combines ordinary objects and collage materials with abstract expressionist brushwork in new, unexpected ways











Monogram back
Robert Rauschenberg, Automobile Tire Print, 1953.
Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram (back), 1955 - 1959.









Jasper Johns, Painted Bronze, 1960.


"I was doing at that time sculptures of small objects - flashlights and light bulbs. Then I heard a story about Willem de Kooning. He was annoyed with my dealer, Leo Castelli for some reason, and said something like, 'That son-of-a-bitch; you could give him two beer cans and he could sell them.' I heard this and thought, 'What a sculpture- two beer cans.' It seemed to me to fit in perfectly with what I was doing, so I did them and Leo sold them." - Jasper Johns











A Bar at the Folies-Bergere

Ballantine Ale ad, 1962
Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1881 - 1882.










Parade Hoboken New Jersey

Robert Frank, Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955 - 1956.











Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954 - 1955.











patriotic = having or expressing devotion to and vigorours support for one's country
Alberto Vargas American Pin-Up
German Pin-Up











encaustic = a painting medium in which pigment is suspended in hot wax

Jasper Johns, Flag (detail),  1954-1955.
Jasper Johns in his studio with Flag





















Why is this a work of art?
Why is this a flag?
The critic Robert Rosenblum asked of Flag, "Is it blasphemous or respectful, simple-minded or recondite?"
  • In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was forced to abdicate her throne by a group of businessmen and sugar planters.
  • Alaska was annexed by the U.S.
  • In 1958, Alaska and Hawaii became states, making this flag obsolete.
Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954 - 1955.











"[Johns'] Flag is full of stories. Under its soft, waxy, rough-smooth surface are headlines and stories clipped out of newspapers, barely visible in reproduction. In the gallery, the stories are dimly read through ghostly suspensions of white between the red bars. Their spectral presence suggests that under the surface of the flag's simple iconic presence are complicated lives, happenings and secrets. The simple banner conceals untold possibilities. For us, looking at this Flag may be a reminder of what ought to be obvious: that nations, like individuals, cannot be summed up easily." - John Sheridan
Jasper Johns, Flag (detail), 1954 - 1955.
Jasper Johns, Flag (detail), 1954 - 1955.





















Fourth of July Jay New York

Jasper Johns, Three Flag, 1958.
Robert Frank, Fourth of July - Jay, New York, 1955-1956.











Semiotics for Beginners










semiotics = the study of signs, symbols and how meaning is constructed

Numbers in Colour

Signifier (image or word) + signified (concept, object or emotion) = sign (whole)
 "a - p - p - l - e" + apple= apple
  • Relationship between the signifier and the signified is conventional – it is always dependent on social and cultural conventions
  • Therefore, the relationship between the signifier and the signified (the sign) is always arbitrary

Jasper Johns, Numbers in Colour, 1959.








White Flag

Jasper Johns, White Flag, 1955.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art bought White Flag for $20 millon, purchased directly from the artist, in 1998.











White Flag

Jasper Johns, White Flag (detail), 1955.









Jasper Johns, False Start, 1959.
Jasper Johns, 0 through 9, 1960. 72 X 54 inches.