Ray Johnson

Raven Row

A decade and a half after his death, Ray Johnson continues to occupy the marginal yet thoroughly involved position he held in life. The growing list of exhibitions and writings about his work serves to clarify rather than alter our understanding of the deliberate distance he maintained from the mechanisms of the art market, heightening our appreciation of the perspicacity with which he observed those workings. His conflicts with the fixed ideas of what constitutes an artist’s career have only gained in significance with time.

Johnson’s reliance on the postal system as a means to share his ideas and activities with others through his self-styled “New York Correspondence School” made for a body of work remarkably uniform in scale and feel, though it drew its material from a wide diversity of sources. The artist built his mosaic-like collages from sanded-down fragments of earlier pieces,

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