Look what Jasper Johns has done to his spare room
The artist’s non-profit foundation has turned its meeting room into a 496-square-feet artist-run exhibition space
In 1962 the US artist Jasper Johns joined with his friend and fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg and the avant-garde composer John Cage to raise funds for Merce Cunningham’s dance company. Cunningham, who was Cage's lover and artistic collaborator, planned to stage a brief Broadway production, and Johns and co. thought they could finance it via the sale of artworks. Scheduling complications meant the show was never realised, yet this didn’t stop the artists from raisings quite a bit of cash. In 1963, heartened by their success, Johns and Cage went on to create the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, which helps established artists raise funds and allocate grants to less-established ones.
Now, over 50 years since the foundation inception, its surviving founder, Jasper Johns, has decided to give over a little space to the next generation by converting the non-profit’s occasional meeting room into a “a new project space”, the Other Room.
This 496-square-feet room is, as the name suggests, right next to the Foundation’s offices at 820 Greenwich Street in New York, and will offer “offer curatorial and exhibition opportunities to artists,” the foundation explains. Johns and co. have been careful not to describe the Other Room as a gallery, and instead are emphasising the role of artists in staging exhibitions here.
The inaugural show, which opened a few days ago and runs until 7 August, is being overseen by the artist and former Contemporary Arts programme manager, Rachel Foullon. Entitled Six Doors, the exhibition “presents six disparate artworks, none of which offer literal depictions of such architecture or passageways, but under this contextual “spell” may be interpreted as doors, whether open or closed, portals, or barriers” the foundation explains.
There’s Marianne Vitale’s Joint Fence (for Jasper), fashioned from steel railroad tracks and wooden beams; Andrea Longacre-White’s Dark Corner, a rectangle of black liquid latex and lubricant applied directly to the room’s brick walls; and Trisha Donnelly’s Let ’Em, a Jenny Holzer-style print, which, the Foundation explains, can be printed and presented at any dimensions the curator chooses.
Alas, the doors themselves to this exhibition aren’t quite as accommodating. The foundation and its spare room keep office hours, Monday to Friday 10am-6pm. However, Six Doors is hosting a special Saturday showing on June 13, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Find out more about this here; and for more on Johns and his innovative artworks, buy a copy of our Phaidon Focus book dedicated to the artist here.