Monday, February 21, 2011

Jasper Johns Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

On February 15, 2011 artist Jasper Johns received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the 6:08 mark on the video of the ceremony, President Obama talks about Johns, saying:

“Like great artists before him, Jasper Johns pushed the boundaries of what art could be and challenged others to test their own assumptions.”

At the 27:00 mark, the official citation is read after which Johns receives his medal. I noted this sentence in particular:

“By asking us to reexamine the familiar, his work has sparked the minds of creative thinkers around the world.”

One of those creative thinkers was Michael Crichton.

In a 2008 speech Crichton said:

"I have an unusual experience of Johns because I have looked at him as a writer and because he has been such a profound influence on me for so many years."

In 1977 Crichton published a book about Jasper Johns, which he revised and published in 1994. In the preface of his autobiography Travels, Crichton cites Johns as someone who had had “a major influence on my thinking”. (p. xiii)

Congratulations, Jasper Johns. And thank you for the inspiration you gave to Michael Crichton.

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