The Paper Snake


"Long out of print (and coveted by Ray Johnson fans), The Paper Snake is an essential work in Johnson’s oeuvre and the second title published by Dick Higgins’s extraordinary Something Else Press in 1965. A vertiginous, mind-bending artist’s book, The Paper Snake was far ahead of its time in its subversive and exuberant confluence of art and life. Assembled and designed by Higgins from his amassed collection of Johnson’s letters, tid-bits and artworks (said Johnson: “all my writings, rubbings, plays, things that I had mailed to him or brought to him in cardboard boxes or shoved under his door, or left in his sink, or whatever, over a period of years”), The Paper Snake connects disparate elements to unbed fixed relationships and forge new systems of meaning by means of scissors, paste and the American postal system.

An introductory essay by Frances F. L. Beatty, Director of the Ray Johnson Estate, is included as a separate insert, and in the spirit of the original, the print run is the same (1840 copies). This reprint is four-color offset, a different method than the original in which Higgins used a two-color process with innovative ink combinations."

-Siglio Press

Johnson, Ray. The Paper Snake. New York: Siglio Press, 2014.
Reprint of the 1965 original by Something Else Press.

Read more on Siglio Press's website here.

The Paper Snake is the subject of a 2015 exhibition at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Read more here.