A Jasper Johns painting at the Whitney began as a teenager's drawing of a kneecap

  Jasper Johns and Jéan-Marc Togodgue

By NOAH BECKER September, 2021

SALISBURY, Conn. — Jasper Johns wrote a letter to a young man from the Repulic of Cameroon named Jéan-Marc Togodgue. Togodgue is a French speaker and needed assistance reading the English language so he could know what Jasper Johns was writing to him? As it turns out Johns lives near Togodgue who attends Salisbury School in Connecticut.

Johns and Togodgue have the same orthopedic surgeon. During a visit to this surgeon, Jasper Johns noticed Jéan-Marc Togodgue's child-like drawing of a knee stuck to the wall in the doctor's office - Togodgue had presented his small drawing as a token of appreciation to his doctor. Johns' letter was written to obtain Togodgue's permission to use Togodgue's kneecap drawing and integrate the drawing into Johns' new painting entitled "Slice." WM


Noah Becker

Noah Becker shows his paintings internationally. A visual artist, saxophonist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine, Becker has also written freelance articles for many other major magazines. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has also written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010) viewable on Youtube. 

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