We're going to have a little fun with an icon of 20th Century Art: Jasper Johns' "Target" paintings from the mid-1950s, which helped lay the groundwork for Pop Art. We'll take a look at a few of the works from this group, and then you can scroll down and have "target practice" with a video game target. Please note: this game works best on a laptop or desktop computer which has a mouse.
Below are two "Target" paintings by Jasper Johns: at left, "Target," 1958, and at right, "Target with Four Faces," 1955. With these paintings, Johns wanted to use an existing visual concept - the common shooting target - because he thought that something that the mind was already familiar with would allow him to work on the object on other levels. For example, Johns has made a very tactile surface using encaustic pigment which he mixed with beeswax, which transforms the "known image" into a more-painterly version. Johns is not known to go into depth regarding the meaning of his work, but one could interpret the use of a target in several ways (did Johns consider himself a target? was it an anti-shooting message?). These were not the only target paintings that he made ... you can see another one here, and one here.
If you're ready to play the game, scroll down to get instructions and take your target practice!
Target Practice Game
How to play: to shoot an arrow at the target, click your mouse on the bowstring, and pull back. You'll see a faint white line which helps give you a sense of the trajectory. Release the mouse, and see how well you have aimed!
When the target gets too full of arrows, you can click here to clear the target and start over.
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