~GOT QREAM ? RAY JOHNSON . . .
OPENING TO-NITE !! – MONDAY AUGUST 1, 2011 / 6-8 PM
‘RAY’S A LAUGH’ – CURATED BY LEO FITZPATRICK
‘ARTISTS RESPOND TO THE WORK OF RAY JOHNSON’ . . . . . featuring work by:
JOE BRADLEY, DAN COLEN, LEO FITZPATRICK, RAY JOHNSON, HANNA LIDEN, NATE LOWMAN, ADAM McEWEN, JOSH SMITH and DASH SNOW
the show runs thru SEPT 7, 2011
yep, 2011 – the SUMMER Of DEATH. well, at least – this is a celebration.
RAY JOHNSON, 1927-1995 has been famously termed “New York’s most famous unknown artist”. according to WIKIPEDIA, Johnson lived in NYC from 1949 to 1968, when he then moved to a small town in Long Island, where he remained until his suicide in 1995.
as WIKIPEDIA has it: “on January 13, 1995 Johnson was seen diving off a bridge in Sag Harbour and backstroking out to sea. His body washed up on the beach the next day. He was 67.”
67, not bad. I remember walking on Orchard St in the Lower East Side, that day, and hearing the street buzz about his death – the street story was that he just upped and walked into the ocean and never came back.
Following his suicide, filmmakers ANDREW MOORE and JOHN WALTER spent 6 years “probing the mysteries of Johnson’s life and art. Their collaboration yielded the award-winning documentary ‘How to Draw a Bunny’ (?!!) released in 2002.”
RAY JOHNSON – ‘How To Draw a BUNNY’/image courtesy: WEIRD WOLF
from ROTTEN TOMATOES: ‘How to Draw a Bunny’ is the story of the life of artist RAY JOHNSON (which was) cloaked in mystery not only at the moment of his death, but also throughout a career that was difficult to know and understand. As one of the seminal figures in the POP ART era, Johnson is known ‘as the founding father of mail art’, and as a ‘collagist extra ordinaire’. But overshadowed by those like Andy Warhol who manipulated that world in a very dissimilar (more effective ?) manner, he was also, reclusive and sometimes enigmatic …”
AND THE ENVELOPE . . . GOES TO ……………….. MORE on MAIL ART:
from Wikipedia: “MAIL ART is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 60s and involves sending visual art (but also music, sound art, poetry) through the international postal system. After a peak in the late 80s early 90s mail art – gradually migrated to the INTERNET”.
(!!!!!!!!!!). no, duh.
and WIKIPEDIA continues with some of the most beautiful words on the web:
“out of the reasonable assumption that the commercial gallery system (and the art magazine industry that surrounds it) is limited and perhaps corrupt (no say !!), many artists emerging in the 70s and 80s around the world decided it would be more feasible to exhibit their work not through galleries …. but through the postal system … using (then state-of-the-art, ha !!) photocopying and rubber stamps …”
“it’s main promoter was RAY JOHNSON, who with his New York Correspondance (sic) School, institutionalized the free exchange of postal messages between artist and artist and artist and audience …”
“RAY JOHNSON’s correspondence art provided Mail Art with a blueprint for the free exchange of art as opposed to its commercialization.”
“The New York Correspondance School show, organized by RAY JOHNSON and MARCIA TUCKER at the WHITNEY MUSEUM in New York is considered the first important public exhibition of the genre.”
as well, on a more personal note:
FILE UNDER: FROM THE MOUTHS OF THE UNKNOWN ARTISTS – WHO JUST MIGHT, USURP & RATTLE YOUR CAGE . . .
artlovers roving correspondent & music critic SIMON CERIGO adds this:
“I met RAY JOHNSON at the RED BAR (7th St and S.E. corner 1st Ave !! in the East Village) in the SUMMER of 1982 – he was in his mid to late fifties – and he was writing postcards . . . at the bar. all alone.
I used to go there early to meet DAN ASHER (another recent member of the DEAD ARTISTS CLUB, though cancer took him down, as opposed to suicide). . . like around 6 PM when they were just setting up for the night. RAY lived in the area, and he would come in all alone and write postcards at the bar. He was sort of a loner, a lonely figure. he didn’t talk much. He was doing his art.”
so, ok. a little more . . . . FLASH FROM the PAST:
I don’t have any (personal) pix of RAY JOHNSON, but I do have some golden nuggets from the iPhoto vault – and a more charming cream of the crop – you could not find. how bout, LEO FITZPATRICK – the curator of this summer’s – a dead artist is the only good artist – RAY JOHNSON centered show.
he was DJing with NATE LOWMAN.
see: the original post.
3 PHOTOS of LEO FITZPATRICK BY & COPYRIGHT: NANCY SMITH
BUNNY, BUNNY EVERYWHERE ?
BUNNY by RAY JOHNSON, from MEMORIAL CLIP