Jasper Johns 1930to –
American pop artist, best known for his encaustic paintings of American flags, targets, maps, and numbers. He grew up in the south before moving to New York City, where he met Robert Rauschenberg in 1955. The two artists became lovers for the next six years, living together and influencing each other’s work. They also formed close friendships with another gay couple, choreographer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage. Though Johns and Rauschenberg were often thought of as a pair, their relationship was rarely acknowledged or spoken of by either of them. In 1958, Johns had his first solo exhibition, after which his success skyrocketed. His detached use of familiar iconography helped transition from abstract expressionism to post-modernism, and he has been creating sought-after work ever since.