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The Broad Museum Will Host Sweeping Jasper Johns Show


Jasper Johns’s “Three Flags” (1958) will be on loan to the Broad in Los Angeles from the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

LOS ANGELES — When the Broad opened here in 2015, it was hard to predict what the museum would offer beyond the blue-chip art collection formed by its founders, Eli and Edythe Broad. Now the museum’s commitment to hosting traveling exhibitions from other institutions to refresh its own program is becoming clearer. Having already signed on to host a survey of Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Rooms” in October (the show originated at the Hirshhorn Museum), the Broad has just finalized plans to take a six-decade survey of Jasper Johns next February from the Royal Academy of Arts in London, becoming the show’s sole American venue.

The show, “Jasper Johns: ‘Something Resembling Truth,’” would also be the first major survey of Mr. Johns, 87, in the Los Angeles area since his groundbreaking Pasadena Museum of Art exhibition in 1965 under Walter Hopps. “And Johns has made a few things since then,” the Broad’s director, Joanne Heyler, said dryly.


Mr. Johns’s first color crosshatch painting, made in 1975, is in the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection.

Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The Broads have been fans of the artist as long as they have been collecting contemporary art. In 1978, they bought his first color crosshatch painting, made in 1975 — a pattern of competing diagonal stripes, reminiscent of magnified and clarified brush strokes, which he would revisit for years. It is to join the Broad’s exhibition along with six other works owned by the museum.

The remainder come from a mix of private and public collections, with the Whitney Museum of American Art lending one highlight: the 1958 canvas “Three Flags” done in encaustic — a traditional, wax-based medium that Mr. Johns used to create an uneven, almost rippling texture, underscoring the handmade nature of his flags.

Hosting traveling shows makes sense for the Broad. It has a lean curatorial staff but the back-end expertise and the art-world clout needed to secure first-rate loans. “The Broad Art Foundation has been lending art for over three decades, so the logistical, practical side of taking on a show of this magnitude is something we are ready to handle,” Ms. Heyler said.

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