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Ray Johnson, Untitled (Campbell’s Soup with Cut-Out Circles), 1973–88, collage on illustration board, 19 × 17".

Ray Johnson

Richard L. Feigen & Co

Ray Johnson, Untitled (Campbell’s Soup with Cut-Out Circles), 1973–88, collage on illustration board, 19 × 17".

Ray Johnson (1927–1995) has been an artist of compelling interest since the mid-1950s, thanks to two premonitory Pop collages, one depicting Elvis Presley, the other James Dean. Yet for all the acclaim they have received, these pieces stand apart from the larger body of Johnson’s oeuvre, which comprises works that, over time, revealed an intricate tissue of affinities, a network made visible in his diligent Lists of Names, a particular Johnsonian genre. Such is what they are—literal lists of names, mainly those of art-world personalities, each denominated one below the other or punctuated by a little bunny head (or is it a duck?) when set up within a checkerboard formation. Name as word and visuality, word made flesh. To be sure, these lists at times generate a “whatever happened to . . . ” response, since many of the notables mentioned—artists, critics, authors, museum

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