Iconic American artist Jasper Johns was among the recipients of the National Medal of Honor, bestowed this afternoon by President Obama. Johns was among 15 individuals to be honored at the White House.

The nation's highest civilian honor, the medal is given to "individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." Johns is the first visual artist in 30 years to receive the award.

An exhibition of new sculptures opens on May 6 at Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. A video of the conference will be made available on WhiteHouse.gov/live.


FLAG, 1954–55. MoMA © JASPER JOHNS/LICENSEDBY VAGA, NEW YORK.