0 Through 9
Not on view
Oil on linen
Overall: 54 × 41 3/8in. (137.2 × 105.1 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President
Rights and reproductions
© Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The title of this painting is a double entendre: it describes the numerical subject of the painting as well as the manner in which the viewer literally sees each number through the others. One of eleven paintings of superimposed numbers that Jasper Johns made in 1960-1961, the genesis of this work can be traced to the mid-1950s, when the artist began painting single numbers using commercial stencils. Johns has remarked that he was drawn to everyday signs and symbols as subjects, since their standardization and impersonality allowed him “room to work on other levels.” Often, these images enabled him to explore processes and habits of perception. The layering here, for example, nullifies the consecutive sequencing we expect when looking at numbers; instead, we perceive portions of the numerals simultaneously and conceptually complete their forms.