NYCS David Letterman Fan Club meeting and performance, Post College, Greenvale, NY.
Works by Ray Johnson, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY—the most comprehensive exhibition of Johnson’s work up until that time. Johnson visits the exhibition but remains in the parking lot during the opening. Rooftop Event, Glen Cove, NY.
Johnson’s father, Eino Johnson, dies on July 15, 1984.
Johnson stages very few performances /gestures: A Performance Event with Ray Johnson, part of the 32nd Annual Long Island Artists’ Show, Heckscher Museum, Huntington, NY; The New York Correspondance Academy: A Throwaway Gesture for Brian Buczak. Solo exhibition: Prints after ‘Étants Donnés’ at The Print Club, Philadelphia.
In 1987 Johnson becomes increasingly isolated. His last documented performance is in 1988 in conjunction with the Al Hansen exhibition at Gracie Mansion Gallery, New York, with Larry Poons and Vito Acconci.
Johnson’s mother, Lorraine L. Polkki Johnson dies in mid-June of 1988.
Contributes pins with a drawing and the text “Venice Lockjaw” printed on them in Ubi Fluxus ibi motus, 1990– 1962, Venice Biennale, ExGranai della Reppublica alla Zitelle Guidecca, Venice. More Works by Ray Johnson, 1951–1991 at Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia—the last solo museum show before his death.
On January 13, Johnson is seen backstroking out to sea near the bridge in Sag Harbor, Long Island, in an apparent suicide at age 67. He leaves no will or note. Many consider this act to be Johnson’s last performance piece. Ray Johnson: A Memorial Exhibition at Richard L. Feigen & Co. organized by Frances Beatty generates interest in Johnson and his work, which is reproduced on the covers of Artforum, Art in America, and all over the popular media. Richard L. Feigen & Co. takes over the representation of the Ray Johnson Estate until 2017 when Director Frances Beatty attains exclusive representation rights with her firm, Adler Beatty.
Johnson continues to work in seclusion, refusing to show his work publicly.