| drew davidson |


One to 3

Drew Davidson


One- Jasper Johns' Periscope (Hart Crane) 1963

To- John Cage's Music for Amplified Toy Pianos 1960

3- John Ashbery's If the Birds Knew 1966

One To 3, three works, more than three meanings

Many meanings, some mean something, others mean nothing

Meaning through use and user (Adams 13)

The point is not right or wrong

How many can be found, or not found

We are searching and not, we alone are together

Let's go, remember

Never say never, ever say ever


Gray, grey

A or E it's grey

Greys are different

A rainbow of grays, grey, gray, grey, gray, grey, gray, grey, gray, grey, gray, gray, grey, gray,grey, grey, gray

Through repitition something unexceptional becomes more interesting (Press Information 1)

Values, insights, emotions (Castleman 22)

Targets, Flags, Numbers, Alphabets, Maps (Bernstein 1)

Diver, Passage, Lands End, Periscope (103)

A periscope to glimpse what joys or pains/Our eyes can share or answer- Hart Crane (Francis 54)

To glimpse, to understand, to remember (Bernstein 110)

Joy, pain, paint, colors

Grey, Red, Yellow, Blue, Gray

Textures, layers, depth

Thinking, seeing, saying and nothing (Castleman 20)

Semi-circle, target, periscope, illusionist projection (Krauss 92)

Hand, impression made onto the canvas from our side

And/or suggestion of hand coming from the other side to ours (Museum Assistant 1)

Into the depths, the other side, look around, look out

Too deep

Squiggles, squaggles, spots, splotches


Emotions captured on canvas, intentional artistic skill

Take a canvas, put a mark on it, put another mark on it, etc. (Castleman 22)

Artless art (Herrigel 5)

Paintless paint

Red, Yellow, Blue, colorful words, wordful colors

One with 3- collage of meaning (Lehman 243)

Red means red and/or what

Someone means you and/or me

One with To- outside elements in

Device dictates circle

Silence emphasizes sound


Random noise, beautiful music, silence

All together by chance or not

I Ching, hexagrams, book of changes (Gena 122)

Do what hasn't been

Prepared Pianos, Noise, 4'33", Toy Pianos, Chance

The beauty of chance for everyone, for no one

All aspects left undetermined (86)

Each realization is different, the beauty of the conception

Opaque and transparent sheets of lines, points, curves (86)

Discovery, invention, freedom, discipline (1)

Musicless music

Music? nonsensical score, conceptual theories

Music? elements, stars, wood grains

Serious, silly, pain, joy, death, life, music

Parts to the whole (127)

To with One- zen, contradiction

Pain of noise, joy of theories

Death in gray, rainbow of grey

To with 3- systems

Design the system of chance (Fleming 253)

System of design of poetry, perception (Sifton 141)


Language, what? is it, who? are they

Whose? voice is it (Lehman 88)

They, you, you, you, you, and/or you, you, you, you

Who? are you, Who? am I, does it matter

Conception of self, or not (96)

Secretive birds, don't know the secret

What? is the secret, the meaning, what? is the meaning, does it matter

Environmentalism, unanswerable questions

Impression, words wash over, leave drops, impressions

The secret, or is it

The path to feeling otherwise not reached, beyond amazement (17)

What Is Poetry, Illustrations, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, The System (Sifton Contents)

Poemless poem

Language is not big enough to answer questions

It leaves impressions, or does it

Words aren't small enough to have meanings

They're drops, impressions

Drip, dribble, and squirt (Lehman 21)

Painterly poet (225)

If the birds knew, if I knew, what

the secret, the meaning, the impression, them, you, me

3 with To- metaphysical

Poem implies art of poetry

Toy music mocks art of music

3 with One- malleable words

They, you, me

Folded blue (Castleman 18)

What? is One To 3

Three works, multiple meanings

Koans, shunning statements (44)

Flexible relationships with works, interesting, not reassuring (45)

Meanings not to be found and/or lost, exposed and/or expressed

To be experienced and/or impressed

Me, you, them, us, not me, you, them, us

Wash the meanings, get the impressions

The drops, don't drop

So much, so little, so frustrating, so enlightening

Stuck without a clue

The bowstring has cut right through you (Herrigel 61)

Easy as A,B,C

One To 3


  • Adams, Doug. Ironies in Jasper Johns' Painting: Parallels to Wittgenstein and Polanyi. Found in Vertical Files. Presented for conference. Boston, Oct, 1974.
  • Bernstein, Roberta. Jasper Johns' Paintings and Sculptures 1954-1974. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1975.
  • Castleman, Riva. Jasper Johns: A Print Retrospective. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1986.
  • Fleming, Richard and William Duckworth. John Cage at Seventy-Five. Lewisberg: Bucknell University Press, 1989.
  • Francis, Richard. Jasper Johns. New York: Abbeville Press, 1984.
  • Gena, Peter and Jonathan Brent. A John Cage Reader. New York: C.F. Peters Co., 1982.
  • Herrigel, Eugen. Zen in the Art of Archery. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
  • Krauss, Rosalind. Jasper Johns. Found in Vertical Files. From Lugano Review. no. 2, 1965.
  • Lehman, David. Beyond Amazement. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980.
  • Museum Assistant of National Collection of Fine Arts. Periscope (Hart Crane) 1963 Jasper Johns. Found in Vertical Files.
  • Press Information. Jasper Johns. A Print Retrospective. L.A. County Museum, Oct. 1, 1987.
  • Sifton, Elizabeth. John Ashbery. Selected Poems. Harrisonburg, Virginia: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 1985.

Special thanks to Gloria, Bob, Robert and Peter (and my classmates), who sat at the station with me and sent me off onto many trains of thoughts.




| drew davidson |