Ray Johnson

March 18 - April 15, 2012

Installation view from Ray Johnson: The Dover Street Years, 1953-1960, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, March 18 – February 15, 2012. Master’s thesis exhibition curated by Anastasia Rygle. Photo: Chris Kendall 2012.
Installation view from Ray Johnson: The Dover Street Years, 1953-1960, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, March 18 – February 15, 2012. Master’s thesis exhibition curated by Anastasia Rygle. Photo: Chris Kendall 2012.
Installation view from Ray Johnson: The Dover Street Years, 1953-1960, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, March 18 – February 15, 2012. Master’s thesis exhibition curated by Anastasia Rygle. Photo: Chris Kendall 2012.

It isn’t really necessary to see the moticos or know where it is because i have seen them. Perhaps i might point them out to you. The best way is to go about your business not thinking about silly moticos because when you begin seeing them describing what they are or where they are going is so just make sure you wake up from sleeping and go your way and go to sleep when you will. The moticos does that too and does not worry about you perhaps you are the moticos. – Ray Johnson, “What is a Moticos”

Moving to New York City in 1948 after attending Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Ray Johnson (American, 1927-1995) found himself at the epicenter of Abstract Expressionism’s core decade (1945-1955). Living and working in a neighborhood known as Coenties Slip, Johnson found community among like-minded individuals such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Morton Feldman, Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, and Ad Reinhardt. In conversation with them, he began to turn away from traditional modernist models and explore alternatives through the physical manipulation of materials. Prior to the advent of his New York Correspondance School and related mail art activities for which he is best known, Johnson produced a large body of experimental work through which he tested the boundaries of modernism. Termed “moticos” by Johnson himself, these works have been rarely seen, generally overlooked, and quite frankly, misunderstood.

Bringing together nearly 40 works, this exhibition traces Johnson’s career during the time he lived and worked at 2 Dover Street in Lower Manhattan, 1953-1960. Highlighted in the exhibition are examples of his graphic design work including dust jackets for New Directions, LP cover art, and window displays, and photographs by Ad Reinhardt and Elizabeth Novick of early moticos displayed outdoors. No exhibition to date has focused exclusively on this period of his work.

The exhibition is organized by Anastasia Rygle, Curator as part of the requirement for the Master of Arts degree.

Opening reception: Sunday March 18, 1-4pm

Location

Bard College
The Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College, Gallery 1
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
845-758-7598
www.bard.edu