Skip to content

Jasper Johns: Crosshatch

November 8, 2019 – January 18, 2020

Jasper Johns, Cicada, 1979
Cicada, 1979 Oil on canvas
Untitled, 1979 Acrylic and collage on canvas
Between the Clock and the Bed, 1980
Between the Clock and the Bed, 1983.
Between the Clock and the Bed, 1983
Untitled, 1980 Oil on canvas
Corpse and Mirror, 1974-1975
Corpse and Mirror, 1975-84
Corpse and Mirror II, 1974-75

Press Release

 “I only saw it for a second, but knew immediately that I was going to use it. It had all the qualities that interest me – literalness, repetitiveness, an obsessive quality, order with dumbness, and the possibility of a complete lack of meaning.” – Jasper Johns

NEW YORK – Craig F. Starr Gallery is pleased to present a selection of paintings and drawings by Jasper Johns, curated by Agnes Gund. In celebration of the gallery’s 15-year anniversary, Jasper Johns: Crosshatch, will be on view November 8, 2019 – January 18, 2020.

The exhibition focuses on one of John’s favored motifs: the crosshatch, which consists of interlocking areas of parallel diagonal lines. Gund chose this subject not only because it is a theme she has always personally admired – among her many gifts to the Museum of Modern Art, Gund considers the monumental crosshatch Between the Clock and the Bed (1981, encaustic on canvas) to be one of the most significant – but also because of “the importance it has carried through Jasper’s work since the 1970s” when he moved away from representations of everyday icons to embrace pure abstraction. 

According to the artist, the idea of the hatchings came from a pattern of “slanted lines on the diagonal, a sort of cross-hatching” that he glimpsed on a car that quickly passed him on the Long Island Expressway. Developed over the course of roughly a decade (1972-1984) and employed in several different series of paintings, drawings and prints, Johns produced many variations on the theme in increasingly complex systems, experimenting with colors, patterns, mirroring, and reversals.

Gund’s exhibition is curated around three of these series: Corpse and Mirror (based on the Surrealist drawing game “Exquisite Corpse”), Between the Clock and the Bed (a reference to Edvard Munch’s late masterpiece Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940-1943 (The Munch Museum, Oslo)), and Cicada (related to the metamorphosis/life cycle of the Cicada insect). Highlights of the exhibition include Corpse and Mirror II (1974-75) – on long term loan to the Art Institute of Chicago from the artist, and on view in New York for the first time since 1997 – as well as two Between the Clock and the Bed paintings (on loan from the artist) being exhibited for the first time.

The show includes 11 works, with loans from the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, important private collections, and the artist. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue is forthcoming and will include a newly commissioned essay by Robert Storr.
This is the ninth Johns exhibition at Craig F. Starr Gallery. The Gallery opened in November 2004 with Jasper Johns: Numbers. For all press inquiries, contact Kelly Munroe at