Fraud, Theft & Restitution
Marion Maneker0August 19, 2013

Jasper Johns Learns His Assistant Is Iago

Jasper Johns

The New York Times tries to do a little amateur psychologizing on James Meyer, the studio assistant to Jasper Johns accused of stealing unfinished works, falsifying records to authenticate them and pocketing $6.5m in the process.

One person who worked for years as an assistant to an internationally known artist — who spoke anonymously because he did not want this instance to reflect on his experience and who had no knowledge of the Johns-Meyer relationship — noted that most artists’ assistants are artists on their own who can risk losing their own artistic identities and identifying to a dangerous degree with someone else’s success.

He said: “I’m sure that many, many years ago, there were a few guys running around the Sistine Chapel trying to pick up girls or impress a potential patron by saying things like: This thing would be a mess if it weren’t for me. You see the way those hands are almost touching? Mike wanted them further apart.”

Theft Charges Reverberate in Connecticut Art World (New York Times)