New York

New York

“Ray Johnson: Correspondences”

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
January 14–April 14, 1999

Curated by Donna De Salvo

This exhibition offers a first opportunity to view the full range of Ray Johnson’s work, but please don’t call it a retrospective! The inventor of mail art both fully inhabited the art world and resisted its domesticating institutions. And even though Johnson’s Gesamtkunstwerk was his life, the “great communicator” was no open book. Curator Donna De Salvo sensibly sidesteps the summary and follows the bread crumbs: early paintings, collages, and roughly fifty years of correspondence. The news: This champion of the ephemeral made astonishingly beautiful work. Look for an upswing in Johnson dissertations on the heels of this necessary survey. Jan. 14–Mar. 21; travels to the Wexner Center, Jan. 28–Apr. 14, 2000.