Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons exhibition Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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Exhibition: July 28 - October 20, 2002


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Roy Lichtenstein - Kiss V (Serigraph)
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Artwork available from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Exhibition: July 28 - October 20, 2002

Over three decades Eli and Edythe Broad have built one of the foremost collections of post-war art in the United States, remarkable for its mix of established and emerging artists and for in-depth representation of such key figures as Roy Lichtenstein and Cindy Sherman.

Roy Lichtenstein - Crac...

Roy Lichtenstein

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This exhibition includes works by seventeen American and German artists, beginning with the seminal, 1960s art of Jasper Johns and ending with the current achievements of Jeff Koons. While presenting iconic works by some of the greatest masters of our time, the exhibition also explores relationships between current art and its predecessors as well as some of the bold advances into new styles, subjects, and media that have evolved over the past forty years.

Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collections” offers a rare opportunity to view exceptional work by some of the most influential contemporary artists from this country and abroad.  Based in Los Angeles, Eli and Edythe Broad are recognized internationally for their enthusiastic and in-depth collecting of the art of our time.

In addition to their personal collection, they formed The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 to lend contemporary work to institutions unable to support acquisitions in a market increasingly beyond the financial reach of many.  This exhibition, organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is drawn from the Broads’ personal and Foundation collections.

Capturing the Broads’ sense of exploration and engagement, the exhibition includes over 75 paintings, sculptures, and photographs by seventeen artists.  It focuses on particular aspects of the Broads’ collections, including their emphases on figurative art, on art produced in the 1980s, and on the serious and impressive representation of the work of Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Koons.

Jasper Johns - Three Flags

Three Flags
Jasper Johns

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Among the paintings from the 1960s are some that many today consider iconic, especially those by John Baldessari, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol.  Many of these works reveal divergent interests in a period usually associated with the rise of Pop Art.

Among them are Baldessari’s wry Tips for Artists, Johns’s famous appropriation of the American flag, Lichtenstein’s inspired use of comics in Live Ammo (Blang!), and Cy Twombly’s powerful, overall abstractions — physical painting unusual for the time.

The Broads have paid special attention to European and American artists who gained wide recognition in the 1980s — the decade in which the Broads became fully immersed in collecting.

Michael Halsband - Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat
Michael Halsband

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Their choices of sculpture and, especially, painting reveal their interest in politically charged imagery and in the period’s renewed emphasis on figuration.  Among the works representing this decade are Eric Fischl’s haunting and unsettling views of suburbia, David Salle’s multi-panel assemblies of images from the dark side of popular culture, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s exploration of race and his own position within the New York art world in the style of spontaneous street graffiti.

Other highlights of the exhibition are three monumental paintings from three decades by German artist Anselm Kiefer.  Kiefer takes a disturbing interpretation of German history as a metaphor for his own relationship with making art in highly textured, physically overwhelming canvases. The combination of grand scale and unusual materials — such as oil and straw with charcoal on burlap — enhance the power of Kiefer’s subject matter.
Cindy Sherman is another artist whom the Broads have collected consistently and comprehensively; she is represented in this exhibition by work from throughout her career.  In Sherman’s color and black-and-white photographs over the last three decades, she has used herself as her primary model, costumed to represent stereotypes from popular culture and mass media as well as revered characters within the history of art.

John Baldessari - Aerobleu Pilot

Aerobleu Pilot
John Baldessari

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The Broads have sought out superior works by California artists and placed them within the context of their international art collections. In addition to the paintings of Baldessari and Ruscha, the exhibition includes key examples of Robert Therrien’s sculpture.  Such works as Under the Table demonstrate Therrien’s sensitivity to materials and the most ordinary objects, and his extraordinary sense of balance and scale.  Charles Ray has also responded to the immediacy and power of the commonplace in his photographs and sculptures that transcend the pedantic with an undercurrent of oddity and unreality.

Roy Lichtenstein - Kiss V (Serigraph)

Kiss V (Serigraph)
Roy Lichtenstein

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The exhibition closes with the sculptures and paintings of Jeff Koons, who continues to challenge the boundaries between “fine art” and the kitschy world of popular culture.  Koons evokes the original outrageousness of Pop Art, contributing to its legacy with such carefully crafted sculptures as Michael Jackson and Bubbles.  His most recent, larger-than-life efforts—Balloon Dog and Cat on a Clothesline—are shown for the first time in this exhibition.

Cheryl Brutvan is the Robert L. Beal, Enid L.
and Bruce A. Beal Curator of Contemporary Art.


Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115-5523

   Tickets on sale now - Call 617-542-4MFA, or click here to order online, or visit the MFA box office. Become a member and receive free tickets to special exhibitions all year long.

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For weekly events, schedule changes, and general information, call 617-267-9300.




Jasper Johns - Three Flags
Three Flags
Jasper Johns

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