Jasper Johns Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.
Howard Kaplan
February 17, 2011

Jasper Johns, one of our favorite artists renowned for his paintings and printmaking, received the Medal of Freedom Tuesday night from President Obama. At eighty years old, Johns is perhaps best known for his images of targets and the American flag. Johns referred to these recognizable objects that became the source and inspiration for his work as "things the mind already knows." He was born in Augusta, Georgia, in a place "with no artists and little art." From that world he created his own, and became a force in the post World War II art world in this country, straddling both abstract expressionism and pop art.


Recent Posts

Four people sit around a table playing a game with large cards. The cards have images of artworks on them.
SAAM educators highlight the collection with a new art-based card game
Kelly Skeen
Detail of brown ceramic jar with writing and the signature "Dave" inscribed around the top.
Craftsman David “Dave” Drake, enslaved for most of his life, produced uncommonly large ceramic jars in 19th-century South Carolina adorned by his poetic verses
A woman in a black blazer smiles in front of a dusky landscape
Jill Vaum Rothschild
Luce Curatorial Fellow
A photograph of a woman standing in front of artwork.
Leslie Umberger
Curator (Folk and Self-Taught Art)
A photograph of a woman in front of artwork
Director Stephanie Stebich looks forward to the year ahead
 Stephanie Stebich, SAAM's Margaret and Terry Stent Direction in the museum's Lincoln Gallery. Photo by Gene Young. 
Stephanie Stebich
The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery