Not long ago, Jasper Johns, who is now 87 and widely regarded as America’s foremost living artist, was reminiscing about his childhood in small-town South Carolina. One day when he was in the second grade, a classmate named Lottie Lou Oswald misbehaved and was summoned to the front of the room. As the teacher reached for a wooden ruler and prepared to paddle her, Lottie Lou grabbed the ruler from the teacher’s hand and broke it in half. Her classmates were stunned.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” Mr. Johns told me, appearing to relish the memory of the girl’s defiance. A ruler, an instrument of the measured life, had become an accessory to rebellion.
Jasper Johns Still Doesn’t Want to Explain His Art
By Deborah Solomon
NYTimes – Feb. 7, 2018