Oh! Jasper Johns, how woeful it is that I should disdain your genius as exhibited in the National Gallery. Excited by the prospect I was left drained of color like your one achromatic target, bored by the content, the repetition. By the end I could care less of your stoic mysticism, your quiet repose, your canvas touched by the ten-meter pole held at arm's length. I care no longer to invest in your riddles today, or the gallery's $40 catalogue. But we shall meet again, old friend.
I don't know if this is more a reaction to the work on display in the National Gallery or the National Gallery's display of the work, but either way it has something to do with presentation. Earlier last year, though impressed with the Anselm Kiefer show in the Hirshhorn, I enjoyed it immensely more in the SF-MoMA this January. The major difference was how the work and the space was lit. Kiefer was oppressive in the Hirshhorn and bouyant in San Francisco.