Ray Johnson is a natural collagist, one of whose principal activities is bringing disparate entities into conjunction. His collages, especially those made after his period as an American Abstract Artist, have been intermittently exhibited and reproduced in books, catalogs, and magazines. The mid-fifties collages, which incorporate printed images of Elvis Presley and James Dean, are slowly entering the history books, usually as components of the early history of pop art. But Ray Johnson is not to be confined so easily within a single ism. Other of his collages are closer to the raw art of Jean Dubuffet, while displaying a funky inevitability all their own. Others, still, are very lyrical.
Excerpt by Clive Phillpot as published in the exhibition catalogue: www.thegalleriesatmoore.org