Raven Row’s inaugural exhibition, ‘Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return' was the first large UK show of the collages and mailings of New York artist Ray Johnson (1927–1995).
Johnson used radical means to construct and distribute images, inadvertently inventing the ‘mail art movement’. He made art out of social life – both real and imagined – gathering celebrities, the art world, and friends into his work. His influence on twentieth century art far exceeds the recognition he receives.
Significantly, the exhibition ‘Ray Johnson. Please Add to & Return' represented Johnson’s mailings – objects he regarded as gifts and thus contrary to the market – equally with the collage works he made for gallery exhibition in the sixties and seventies. Also included were the collages he subjected to a seemingly endless process of reworking and overlaying, which were found signed with multiple dates and neatly arranged in his house at the time of his death.
Raven Row has put together a complete digital archive of the exhibition, available here: www.ravenrow.org/exhibition/rayjohnson
Exhibition reviews press pdf
More information on the exhibition catalogue available here.
The exhibition traveled to Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, 6 November 2009 to 10 January 2010.
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London E1 7LS