Space Sculpture | Artist: Norbert Kricke | Installed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) main entrance in 1964.
Over and over again I sail towards joy, which is never in the room with me, but always near me, across the way, like those rooms full of gayety one sees from the street, or the gayety in the street one sees from a window. Will I ever reach joy? It hides behind the turning merry-go-round of the traveling circus. As soon as I approach it, it is no longer joy. Joy is a foam, an illumination. I am poorer and hungrier for the want of it. When I am in the dance, joy is outside in the elusive garden. When I am in the garden, I hear it exploding from the house. When I am traveling, joy settles like an aurora borealis over the land I leave. When I stand on the shore I see it bloom on the flag of a departing ship. What joy? Have I not possessed it? I want the joy of simple colors, street organs, ribbons, flags, not a joy that takes my breath away and throws me into space alone where no one else can breathe with me, not the joy that comes from a lonely drunkenness. There are so many joys, but I have only known the ones that come like a miracle, touching everything with light.
A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist.
Even after 60 years of making art, though, [Jasper] Johns is still not entirely at ease with his practice. “I laboured over these a lot,” he says of “Regrets”. “Somehow what you end up with seems to be something you should have known was there to begin with, even though you had to work so hard to find it.”
That being an artist is still so arduous perplexes him. “I worry about the difficulty of making things, or the difficulty of knowing what to do,” he admits. “I may think, having been working at this all these years, why don’t I find it easy? Since it’s a relatively simple activity.”