Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ray Johnson.

If you are around east 22st you might want to check out the small but very good exhibition of Ray Johnson's collages that is at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery of Baruch College. I had no idea this place even existed until I saw a notice about this show. These are bullet like pieces, small but for the most part very potent and strong, if not deadly, and full of pop images before pop was pop and Ray was probably the most important mail artist that ever used the post office. I liked his abstract collages as well as the more popular imagery ones, and I don't think Ray would go for all this "new" technology stuff. You can't be touchy feely in emails. I like his work and I'm sorry that he killed himself. Most of the pieces in the show are from the collection of William S. Wilson a close friend of his and whose mother was the zany artist and maker of assemblages and collages herself May Wilson, now thats an exhibition I would like to see, but I shouldn't hold my breath. Once when I was very young, (even younger than I am in my profile picture) I was at big art world party and across the crowded room Ray made his way to me in cruise control mode. "And what do you do, he asked" "I'm an artist" I said. "Oh" he replied and walked away. I once got a birthday postcard from him, which I sold, (I know) and he contributed a piece about me for my retrospective at Kent State many years ago, that he made sure was returned to him and which is posted here. We can all use a little Ray Johnson in our lives now and again.


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