Has a solo exhibition at the Willard Gallery, New York. Mrs. John D. Rockefeller purchases Ladder Whirled, ca. 1950-51, from the show. Grace Glueck in The New York Times calls Johnson “New York’s most famous unknown artist.”
The Paper Snake, a compilation of Johnson’s mailings to Fluxus poet Dick Higgins, is published by Something Else Press.
Received the National Institute of Arts & Letters award for painting.
William S. Wilson's "Ray Johnson: New York Correspondence School" appears in Art and Artists,the first published article to discuss the New York Correspondence School.
Begins correspondence with Joseph Cornell. Shows works, including Bridget Riley and Duchamp Combs series at Feigen Gallery in New York and Chicago and Willard Gallery in New York. In 1967 “New York Correspondence School” article appears in Artforum (Johnson, Bourdon, Leider).
First recorded meeting of the New York Correspondance School at the Society of Friends Meeting House, Rutherford Place, New York.
Severely shaken after being held at knifepoint in Manhattan on the same day that Warhol is shot by Valerie Solanas (and by the assassination of Robert Kennedy two days later), Johnson moves to Glen Cove, Long Island to a house that he described as a “small farmhouse with a Joseph Cornell attic,” where he works with great productivity but gradually withdraws from the Manhattan art world.
Has the solo exhibition A Lot of Shirley Temple Post Cards Show at Feigen Gallery, New York, collages which include photographs of film stars. Group exhibitions include Richard J. Daley at Feigen Gallery, Chicago and Violence in Recent American Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (in which Johnson presents the collage Do Not Kill, 1966); other artists include Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. At Cornell’s request, Johnson introduces him to Ultra Violet (a Warhol Factory luminary).
Moves to 44 West 7th Street, known as the “Pink House,” in Locust Valley, Long Island, near the Lippolds.
Visits Vancouver, Canada to install Ray Johnson—Nineteen Collages, part of Concrete Poetry: An Exhibition in Four Parts at the University of British Columbia. The Last Correspondance Show, Art Gallery of California State University, Sacramento. As part of the exhibition, The Last Correspondence Show hosts an event that includes a raffle (Raffaele) for “a duck that turned out to be a rabbit.”
Included in the group exhibition Combine Works at the School of Visual Arts, New York, showing collages made by Johnson in collaboration with others: Drip (with May Wilson), Mitton (with Ero Lippold), My Name is Mona (with John Willenbecher), Fake Face Collage (with Richard Craven), and an untitled work (with Joseph Raffaele).
Included in John Russell’s and Suzi Gablik’s groundbreaking survey Pop Art Redefined at London’s Hayward Gallery, and the book which accompanied it (Thames & Hudson). Gablik stresses the importance of chance techniques and found images and cites Johnson as a pioneer in both arenas (pages 16-17).
Johnson drops sixty foot-long hot dogs from a helicopter over Ward’s Island as part of the 7th Annual New York Avant Garde Festival, Ward’s Island and Mill Rock Island. This performance is underwritten by his dealer, Richard Feigen.
Ray Johnson: New York Correspondance School opens at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, curated by Ray Johnson and Marcia Tucker. The exhibition includes works submitted by Johnson’s correspondents and selected by the museum, including Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Yoko Ono, Peter Hujar, James Rosenquist, et al.
Has the solo exhibitions I Shot an Arrow into the Air It Fell to Earth in the Ear of an Artist Living in Flushing, New York Tit Show at Feigen Gallery, New York and Dollar Bills at Feigen Gallery, Chicago, an exhibition of nineteen collages which show dollar bills and references either to pop stars or art world figures.
A Pair of Ears mail event—correspondents send mail to the “Talk of the Town” column of The New Yorker magazine. First Intercourse mail event and Second Intercourse mail event, Intercourse, Pennsylvania. A Meeting for Dame May Witty at the David Whitney Gallery, New York. “Each Time You Carry Me This Way” Meeting for Carrie Snodgrass, Finch College, New York.
First Marcel Duchamp Fan Club Meeting, Church of the Holy Trinity, New York; NYCS Meeting for Anna May Wong, New York Cultural Center. Has the solo exhibitions Dollar Bills and Famous People Memorials at Richard L. Feigen & Co. in New York and Famous People’s Mother’s Potato Mashers, Galleria Schwarz, Milan. Included in the group exhibition Post Card Show, Angela Flowers Gallery, London.
April 5: Johnson declares the “death” of the New York Correspondance School in an unpublished letter to the Obituary Department of The New York Times, but continues to practice mail art under this and other rubrics such as the Buddha University, the Spam Radio Club, and the Marcel Duchamp Fan Club.
Visits the three-artist collective General Idea in Toronto (which publishes File magazine). Has the solo exhibitions Ray Johnson’s History of the Betty Parsons Gallery, Betty Parsons Gallery, New York and Famous People’s Mother’s Potato Mashers, Angela Flowers Gallery, London. Meets Frances Beatty who begins a correspondence with Ray which lasts until his death.
A Buddha University Meeting, Onnasch Gallery, New York; NYCS Exhibition and Valentine’s Day Performance, Western Illinois University, Macomb; Paloma Picasso Fan Club Meeting, Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York; Asparagus Club: A Consept Event (also called Oh Dat Consept Art), Rene Block Gallery, New York; Spaghetti performance, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.
Ray Johnson’s History of Yoko Ono and John performance, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury; Spam Radio Club meeting, Center for Book Arts, New York; How to Draw a Daisy NYCS Meeting, Central Hall Gallery, Port Washington, Long Island, NY. Has solo exhibitions at Gertrude Kasle Gallery, Detroit and Massimo Valsecchi Gallery, Milan and is included in the group exhibition Brecht—Johnson—Duchamp, Kunstmarkt, Cologne.