Jasper Johns and Conceptual Art


Last Saturday, Jennifer Quick, a PhD candidate in Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture—and former Agnes Mongan Curatorial Intern at the Harvard Art Museums—gave a gallery talk on the silkscreen print Usuyuki (Japanese for “a little snow”) from our current exhibition Jasper Johns / In Press: The Crosshatch Works and the Logic of Print.

Jennifer provided insight on the structure of the print (the seemingly random composition of lines is actually a pre-calculated grid system of hatch mark patterns) while also placing it in context of American conceptual art emerging in the 1970s–80s.

Jennifer’s talk inspired some very interesting questions from attendees: Is a pattern of six hidden in the grid that corresponds to the six sides of the snowflake? Can we find meaning in the specific choice of newspaper clippings that Johns uses in the print?

As we see with Usuyuki, Johns’s work remains on our minds, continually prompting new observations and questions.

What do you see in Usuyuki?

PS: Only a few days left before Jasper Johns / In Press closes this Saturday, August 18.

Image: Jennifer Quick, PhD candidate in Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture, presents a gallery talk on Jasper Johns’s silkscreen print Usuyuki. Photo: Antoinette Hocbo