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Uploaded by : Chris Vroom | 02/26/09

In the high-octane 1960s Pop Art scene, Ray Johnson cast a small shadow amongst colleagues such as Andy Warhol. However, his collage work (which he dubbed "moticos"), and the way he decided to distribute it (through the postal service) influenced the future of mixed media art, as well as the mail art movement. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Johnson attended the experimental Black Mountain College with the likes of Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. After leaving BMC in 1948, he spent some time creating abstract art, and then took on the influence of Dada with his collages incorporating comic strips, advertisements and celebrity figures. Johnson often refused to participate in gallery shows and started mailing his art to a network of correspondents, telling them to add to his creations and then return them. This method of disseminating art became known as the New York Correspondence School, and expanded to include impromptu events and dinners. When Johnson did show his artwork, he was represented by the dealer Richard Feigen, with whom he battled over the nature of the art market. Johnson eventually withdrew from New York to a small town on Long Island, where he continued to produce mail art. In 1995 Ray Johnson’s body was found floating in a cove in Sag Harbor, N.Y. The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear, although some speculate that this final act was also his final performance.

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