Pruzan Art Center to Feature Works by Jasper Johns, Glenn Ligon ’82, Hon. ’12 from Davison Art Collection

Andrew ChatfieldJuly 10, 20243min
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Wesleyan University’s Pruzan Art Center, the new venue in the center of campus, will highlight prints from the Davison Art Collection by Jasper Johns and Glenn Ligon ’82, Hon. ’12.

The exhibition “Reading Signs: Jasper Johns and Glenn Ligon in Print” will open at the Pruzan Art Center in the Goldrach Gallery on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. and will be on display through Wednesday, Dec. 11. The Pruzan Art Center, located at 238 Church Street in Middletown, between Wesleyan’s Olin Memorial Library and the Frank Center for Public Affairs, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Admission is free.

Ligon and Johns are two of the most influential American artists working in print today. Their work frequently addresses the structures and materials of visual communication. “At a time when we are both overwhelmed with and generating unprecedented amounts of text and data, much of it apparently meaningless yet voraciously surveilled, their work takes on heightened importance,” said Miya Tokumitsu, Donald T. Fallati and Ruth E. Pachman Curator of the Davison Art Collection. “This exhibition is an occasion to study these artists’ sensitive explorations of language and meaning as mediated through print, side by side.”

Throughout their printed works, Johns and Ligon demand and disrupt the act of reading. Both artists frequently discompose the visual elements of language and communication: targets drip and letters smudge. Johns and Ligon exploit the processes of printing — which entail contact and separation, mirroring and reversals — to parse the distances between signs and their meanings, and also, to address the mechanics of looking on the part of the spectator.

“Reading Signs” will feature etchings and lithographs by both artists as well as screenprints by Johns in the Davison Art Collection.

The exhibition will be closed from Saturday, Oct. 19 through Tuesday, Oct. 22, and from Monday, Nov. 25 through Monday, Dec. 2, 2024.

The Davison Art Collection holds more than 25,000 works of art on paper, including prints, photographs, and drawings. The print collection is one of the foremost at a college or university in the United States. The collection supports teaching and learning in many ways and was established at Wesleyan University with the founding gifts of George Willets Davison, class of 1892. For more information, please visit