1 of 7
Photo by Bill Orcutt
Untitled (RJ's History of Video Art), 1978 © Ray Johnson, Estate of Ray Johnson at Richard L. Feigen & Co. 2009
2 of 7
Untitled (Taoist Toast!)This is one of Johnson's early collage works, created in 1957. The Detroit-born artist is described as one of the most influential but least well-known of his generation in the MACBA literature about this show. William S. Wilson collection
3 of 7
Untitled (Elvis Ink Figures)Johnson began studying art at the end of the Forties, in Black Mountain College where he met John Cage (a retrospective of this experimental artist and musician is running parallel to the Johnson show at the MACBA), as well as Bill de Kooning, Richard Lippold and Merce Cunningham.The artwork pictured above was produced around 1950, a time when Johnson was beginning to experiment with new ways of making art and creating collages that incorporated elements from popular culture. As well as Elvis, he produced works featuring James Dean, Shirley Temple and Marilyn Monroe.William S. Wilson collection
4 of 7
Untitled (Bridget Riley [Inked Comb])This ink on paper piece shows an image of British artist Bridget Riley with an 'inked comb' that is made of Riley's Op Art lines, dating from c. 1970. Johnson often referred to the work of his peers in his Mailing Art – this concept, which he started in the late Fifties, saw him set up a network of contacts (friends, acquaintances and strangers, both in the US and around the world) to who he would mail artwork for them to add to and then return to him or forward on elsewhere. In the Sixties, he consolidated this artistic network as the 'New York Correspondance (sic.) School'.
5 of 7
Photo by Bill Orcutt
Untitled (RJ's History of Video Art)Johnson turned his hand to a variety of art techniques and materials. This mixed material work has a cartoonish element, and was created in 1978. The MACBA show focuses entirely on his collages and mailing art. William S. Wilson collection
6 of 7
UntitledThis piece is a 1973 collage created on an illustration board
7 of 7
Untitled (RJ with collage lips)This photograph features Johnson himself with a pair of lips stuck over his own mouth. The collage dates from c. 1960.Ray Johnson committed suicide in New York in January 1995 when he was 67.
This is the first time that Johnson's work has been shown in Spain and features a retrospective of 300 of his collages and mailings. He began his artistic career with painting, but in the Fifties, searched for an alternative form of expression which saw him move towards collage for which he cut up his own canvases. Johnson is also known for his 'mail' form of art—this saw him develop a network of contacts with whom he exchanged artworks by mail, encouraging them to take the pieces he sent, add to them, then return to him. This became known in the Sixties as the New York Correspondance (sic.) School and went on to be a global success.
Art & Exhibitions