Ray Johnson

American, 1927–1995


Known for his innovative multimedia collages, multifaceted Neo-Dada and Pop artist Ray Johnson merged appropriated mass media content with his own painted forms, creating larger silhouetted images both surreal and yet recognizable for their component parts. Johnson was also a pioneer in the now worldwide “Mail Art” or “Correspondence Art” movement where works are literally sent through the postal service, expanding visual culture beyond the commercial sphere and promoting a system of equal exchange between artists. After graduating high school in 1945, Johnson studied for three years at the historic Black Mountain College under such influential artists as Josef Albers and Robert Motherwell, and befriended such art luminaries as John Cage and Merce Cunningham. He then moved to New York in 1949, enmeshing himself in the artistic community that gave rise to Pop Art. Johnson was also associated with the Fluxus and performance art movements.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Solo show at a major institution
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 5 more
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 2 more
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 4 more
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 1 more
Shows Featuring Ray Johnson