Richard L. Feigen & Co. has represented the Ray Johnson Estate since the artist's death in 1995. The Estate includes an extensive archive of materials including, but not limited to, correspondence, mail art, collages, documentary photographs, objects and memorabilia. The Estate encourages scholarship and is open to researchers by appointment.
William S. Wilson
William S. Wilson, born in Baltimore, 1932, was graduated with Honors in Philosophy of Science from the University of Virginia, then went on to Yale University where he received an M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature. He has taught at Queens College, Columbia University, The Cooper Union, and the School of Visual Arts. He has lectured on Eva Hesse at the Jeu de Paume, Tate Modern, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the College Art Association. His novel Birthplace: moving into nearness, was nominated for a Pen-Faulkner Award. He has received an N.E.A. art-writer’s grant of $10,000.00, and a $40,000.00 Warhol Foundation Grant, 2012, for a book about the life and art of Ray Johnson.
Ina Blom is a Professor at the Institute of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. Her fields of research and teaching are modernism/avant-garde studies and contemporary art and aesthetics, with a particular focus on media art practices and media aesthetics. She is head of the Seminar of Aesthetics, University of Oslo, and is currently directing the interdisciplinary NFR-funded research project The Archive in Motion. A former music critic and radio DJ, she has also worked extensively as an art critic and curator. She has been a senior curator at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo (2000), and the curator of the Fluxus/Intermedia Collection at the Henie Onstad Art Center in Oslo (1988-93), producing a number of exhibitions on art from the 1960’s onwards. She is a member of the international editorial board of Konsthistorisk Tidsskrift, London: Routledge, and contributes to Artforum, Parkett, Afterall and Texte zur Kunst. Her book publications include On the Style Site. Art, Sociality and Media Culture. New York: Sternberg Press, 2007 (2nd edition 2009), The Name of the Game. Ray Johnson's Postal Performance, Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel, Stedelijk Museum Sittard, 2003, Joseph Beuys, Oslo: Gyldendal, 2001 and The Cut Through Time. A Version of the Dada/Neo-Dada Repetition, Acta Humaniora, 1999.
Frédérique Joseph-Lowery holds a Ph. D. from Emory University. She is a regular contributor for Art Press magazine. An authority in Dalinian studies, she wrote several articles examining Dali’s world in relation to Marcel Duchamp’s work. She is the author of a critical edition of the French manuscripts of La Vie secrète de Salvador Dali (L’Age d’homme, 2006) with a foreword by Jack Spector. Contemporary Dance and performance was the subject of her book Dalí et Béjart: Danser “Gala” (ed.Notari, 2007) as well as of several exhibitions she curated in Europe and the United States: Dali Dance and beyond (Salvador Dali Museum, St Petersburg, FL , and Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College CUNY, 2007) and Dalí et Béjart: danser “Gala”(Maison Bergevin, 2007). Joseph-Lowery was the guest editor of a special issue on Dalí (La Revue des Sciences humaines “Lire Dalí”) and she directed two international colloquium: Dali. Sur les traces d’éros (Cerisy-La-Salle, 2007) and Dali Today (Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, CUNY and Catalan Center, New York University, 2010.
Clive Phillpot knew Ray Johnson from 1981 until his death in 1995, at the time he was Director of the Library at the Museum of Modern Art. They talked and corresponded intermittently from 1981, but regularly from 1988-1994. Phillpot published Ray Johnson On Flop Art: Fragments from Conversations... (London: Fermley Press, 2008).
Phillpot’s other essays have been published in Lightworks #22, 2000, New Observations #126, 2000, Art Monthly #239, 2000, and in Voids: a Retrospective (Zurich: JRP/Ringier, 2009), and several other publications.
Phillpot & Johnson co-edited Ray Johnson: Jean Dubuffet Fan Club (Nassau County Museum, 1988).
Clive Phillpot now lives in London, England.
Sophie is a PhD candidate at the Sorbonne University (Paris) under the direction of Prof. Philippe Dagen. She holds a Master's degree in finance (Sciences Po Paris, 2008) and a Master's degree in Art History (Sorbonne, 2009). Among other distinctions, she was a Terra Foundation predoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2011.
Her dissertation, entitled L’économie au miroir de l’art, deals with artworks of the 1960s that address and question economics (including price, money, finance, and monetary exchange in general) with artistic means. In this framework, she studies the recurring motif of money in Ray Johnson’s work, in particular his dollar-bill collages in contrast to his correspondence art, seen as an alternative, non-monetary kind of circulating currency.
Kate Erin Dempsey
Kate is a PhD Candidate in art history at the University of Texas. Her work focuses on Johnson’s relationship to Marcel Duchamp and will culminate in her dissertation titled Ray Johnson in Correspondence with Marcel Duchamp. Kate has published essays in The Journal of Black Mountain College Studies and several exhibition catalogs including From BMC to NYC: The Tutelary Years of Ray Johnson and Inventing Marcel Duchamp: The Dynamics of Portraiture.
Johanna began researching Ray Johnson's work as an art history major at Barnard College, where she earned her B.A. in 2005. Her senior thesis research focused on Johnson's artistic formation at Black Mountain College and his early moticos practice, and this laid the foundation for her ongoing interest in the postwar American avant-garde. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art at Bryn Mawr College, where she is completing a dissertation on the films of Bruce Conner, a San Francisco-based artist and longtime member of the New York Correspondance School. Johanna continues to think and write about Ray Johnson, and in 2010 she participated in a special panel on Ray Johnson at the "Re-Viewing Black Mountain Conference" at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Her paper “From Art to Experience: The Porous Philosophy of Ray Johnson,” focused on the connections between Johnson's art and the philosophy of John Dewey, and was subsequently published in the winter 2011 issue of the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies. Other recent publications include an essay on Red Grooms's early films, and an article on contemporary art and politics in the winter 2010 issue of Radical History Review.
Miriam is a PhD candidate in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She is an independent curator and writer who, prior to returning to academia, was the director of Ubu Gallery in New York. She has curated numerous exhibitions, authored critical articles and reviews, and organized several scholarly symposia—including a recent series of interdisciplinary roundtable discussions at The Center for the Study of Modern Art at The Phillips Collection in Washington DC. In 2011, she was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH), and in 2012 was named a Henry Luce Predoctoral Fellow in American Art by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Her research focuses on the networked art of Ray Johnson and the model of community-at-a-distance he constructed through the circulation of collaged mailers.
Julia is the archives assistant at The Ray Johnson Estate. She is pursuing a Master's degree in library and information science at Pratt Institute. She graduated from New York University with a B.F.A. in Film and Television Production and was 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellow in Berlin.
Gillian is a PhD candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center, the City University of New York. She received her BA from Colgate University in 2008, double majoring in History and Art History, and her MA from the Graduate Program in the History of Art, Williams College, in 2010. She has worked as a research assistant for many respected scholars, as well as served as a curatorial intern for several institutions, including the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York City. Gillian will be writing her dissertation on Ray Johnson, for which she is just beginning her work here at the archive.
Anatasia H. Rygle
Anastasia is a curator and writer based in New York. She is currently a M.A. candidate at the Center for Curatorial Studies Bard College where her thesis, “Ray Johnson: The Dover Street Years, 1953-1960” seeks to situate the work of Ray Johnson within the discourse of art and culture in the 1950s in New York City. In conjunction with her written thesis, she has organized an exhibition of nearly 40 works from the period when Johnson lived and worked at 2 Dover Street in Lower Manhattan. Her interest in Johnson’s work began in 2006 when she curated an exhibition of Johnson’s mail art culled from the collection of Andy Warhol. Ms. Rygle has worked for a number of institutions including, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Dia Art Foundation in New York City, and numerous single artist archives and private collections. She is interested in a range of topics artists, and issues pertaining to modern and contemporary art including: Black Mountain College, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, the postwar avant-garde, their legacies, American criticism, curatorial practice, and pragmatism.
Michael von Uchtrup
Michael is a freelance curator, archivist, and researcher, has worked since 1987 with artists and arts institutions in the US, Europe and Japan, contributing to the creation of magazine articles, books, television documentaries, and exhibitions; over a dozen colleges and museums have hosted his lectures. He began cataloguing archives of Ray Johnson's artworks and mail art in 1999, focusing on those of Ray's earliest friends, William S. Wilson in particular. An article on Ray's early years by v.Uchtrup - “I Plan To Send Startling Letters” - appears in the current Black Mountain College Journal online. v.Uchtrup has been awarded a fall 2012 residency grant by the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice.
Ray Johnson drawings and silhouettes, 1976-1990
The collection contains drawings and silhouettes by Ray Johnson. All of the drawings are tracings of the subject’s left-facing profile. Many of Johnson's subjects were artists, authors, critics, collectors, curators, gallery owners and others connected to the New York art world of the late 1970s and 1980s. The collection dates from 1976-1990 and includes 294 drawings, 30 silhouettes and 3 xerographic copies.
Click on silhouette image for the full finding aid.
Ray Johnson Envelopes and Mail Art, 1965-1991
The collection contains envelopes and mail art exchanged between Ray Johnson and his vast network of friends, acquaintances, and correspondents. Many of the correspondents were/are involved in the New York art world, but many are also further flung, representing the international nature of Johnson's correspondence. The dates of the collection are drawn mostly from postmarks but also from Johnson's typed or handwritten notations on the materials. Given the nature of mail art practice, i.e., multiple back-and-forth exchanges over time, these dates are necessarily uncertain. The collection includes references to over 250 people, including prominent visual artists (George Brecht, Richard Lippold, William T. Wiley, May Wilson), mail artists (Anna Banana, Richard Craven, John Held), musicians (John Cage, David Byrne), writers and editors (Lucy Lippard, William S. Wilson), and more.
Click on envelope image for the full finding aid.