new-york

Ray Johnson

Richard Feigen Gallery

Of a mixed bag of Rauschenberg, Cage, Cunningham, Lippold and Ray Johnson—who tore about the lower reaches of New York City in a black hearse a generation back—all but the last named have come into lions shares of renown. Of course, Johnson has had his New York Correspondence School to slake a thirst for infra-fame, if this modest appetite can be attributed to the benignly sweet, perennial teenager. The general feeling around is that Johnson is due for his cut of esteem and high time too. This leads to hard problems, for in Johnson’s work there is a wide breach between those elements usually considered “pictorial” and those which might be regarded as literary, poetical or linguistic. It may be argued that his discrepancy is itself the signature fascination of Johnson’s work but to me such a solution to an irksome conundrum seems notably sophistic.

Stated flatly, John son’s pictorial gifts

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