Catenary by Jasper Johns 
Hardcover; 128 pages
Steidl / Matthew Marks Gallery
3.1 pounds; 10.2 x 0.8 x 12.2 inches
After completing the installation of his 1996 retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art, Jasper Johns retreated to his studio in Connecticut to wipe the slate clean, beginning a body of work that was a dramatic departure from anything he had made before. This volume reproduces for the first time the complete series of those magnificent works that Johns, one of our greatest living artists, has made over the last eight years.The first painting in this new series included a string hanging from upper right to lower left, generating a curve called a "catenary," and this curve became the compositional backbone of the entire series.
Johns produced a total of 61 paintings, drawings and prints based on the catenary theme, all of which are reproduced in this volume. The work is saturated with autobiographical references, both transparent and opaque, while it simultaneously encourages multiple layers of meaning. Sensual surfaces, fragile constructions, and formal rigor meet allusions to key moments in the history of modern art and motifs from Johns's earlier work. The poetry of Johns's catenary series is explored in an illustrated essay by the scholar Scott Rothkopf, published alongside the catalogue's 51 color plates.