"Johnson predicted the growing fuzziness between the realms of photography and IRL (in real life) — from snapshots to social media — suggesting that the relationship between them is porous but also ripe for creative intervention."
- Martha Schwendener, New York Times, 2022
Ray Johnson stopped exhibiting in 1991, but his output did not diminish. In 1992–1994, he used 137 disposable cameras to create a large body of work that is only just coming to light. Staging his collages in settings near his home in Locust Valley, Long Island—parking lots, sidewalks, beaches, cemeteries—he made photographs that pull the world of everyday “real life” into his art. In his “new career as a photographer,” Johnson began making collages in a new, larger format that made them more effective players in his camera tableaux. The vast archive he left behind at his death included over three thousand of the late photographs. These photographs feature many images drawn from photography's historical canon, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Duane Michals, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander and others and were shown in 2022 at the Morgan Library & Museum in the groundbreaking exhibition Please Send to Real Life: Ray Johnson Photographs curated by Joel Smith.