Two Maps II demonstrates Johns' recurring preoccupation with how the viewer experiences his art. Here Johns takes an elementary and well-known American image, a map of the United States, and alters it subtly. The outline of the map is reproduced with small changes in form made to its interior in each duplication. Our experience of the "real" map is linked to childhood and how we learned and memorized the map in grammar school. Johns' use of the innate ability of printmaking to create duplicates and doubles forces us to compare identical yet subtly different images of a seemingly fixed icon. In doing so, we begin to question not only the physicality of the two maps but our own understanding of what a real map is.
This is only the second time that this rare print has been offered for sale at auction.