The set of six Cicadas were created by overprinting a cache of prints leftover from the original red/yellow/blue 1979 edition, to see what it’s like when one color tops another.
“The Cicada title has to do with the image of something bursting through its skin, which is what they do,” Johns said in a 1980 documentary. “You have all those shells where the back splits and they’ve emerged. And basically that kind of splitting form is what I tried to suggest”.
So happy Pride to all involved!
Cicada (ULAE 215), ed. 5 plus some proofs, (1979–81) [walkeart.org]
David Teiger’s set of Cicada prints sold for $1.2m, 4x the estimate, in 2018, which seems like a lot for screenprints. [sothebys]
Agnes Gund curated some Cicada works into her Crosshatches show last winter at Craig Starr [craigstarr]