Philadelphia

Ray Johnson

Moore College of Art & Design

“More Works by Ray Johnson: 1951–1991” presents a representative selection of drawings, collages, as well as a sprawling body of mail art. Given the comparative abundance and notoriety of the correspondence, the collages make a particularly strong impression here, revealing a refined, formal side of Johnson’s work that may not be familiar to most viewers; some are abstract and derive their poetry from his finely textured surfaces, others reveal a fluid engagement with pop-cultural images. The earliest of the latter sort predates Pop art’s beginning (as we traditionally date it) by a decade. The practice of collage, with its unlikely clipped, pasted, and Xeroxed visual and verbal encounters, also informs the correspondence in which contingency and assimilation play equally important roles.

The formal collages may be beautiful, but the mail art, which depends on the postal system instead of

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