Collage Crazy

The amazing and eccentric Ray Johnson

Above: William Burroughs, (1978). Acrylic, ink, and collage on panel, 15 7/8 x 15 7/8 x 1 1/4 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.

    BY: PROVOKR Editors

    Friday, May 12, 2017

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Ray Johnson, the next exhibition in his gallery at 523 West 24th Street. Included are over thirty collages spanning nearly three decades.

It was during Johnson’s reclusive final decades that he created most of the works in this exhibition, building them up in layers of magazine clippings, found photographs, and handmade marks. He worked in a nonlinear way, often setting aside a collage for years before picking it up, adding to it, and setting it aside again. This layering can be seen in the works’ content too, with images and phrases (such as “mouth of the month,” “Janis Joplin’s mother’s hat,” and “I love you Alice B. Toklas”) joined together in associative chains that are equal parts comedy and poetry.

The work is fascinating and Ray Johnson is a true original.

 

Untitled (Elvis with Scarface Bunny), (1993). Ink and collage on board, 21 x 8 1/2 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.
Untitled (Elvis with Scarface Bunny), (1993). Ink and collage on board, 21 x 8 1/2 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.

 

Issa, (1968). Ink and collage on board in artist's frame, 19 7/8 x 11 1/2 x 1 3/8 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.
Issa, (1968). Ink and collage on board in artist’s frame, 19 7/8 x 11 1/2 x 1 3/8 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.

 

Janis Joplin's Mother's Hat, (1972-88). Ink and collage on board in artist's frame, 20 1/8 x 16 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.
Janis Joplin’s Mother’s Hat, (1972-88). Ink and collage on board in artist’s frame, 20 1/8 x 16 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.

 

Untitled (Dali/Buddha), (c. 1977-80). Ink and collage on board, 20 1/2 x 15 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.
Untitled (Dali/Buddha), (c. 1977-80). Ink and collage on board, 20 1/2 x 15 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.

 

Untitled (Jackson Pollock Fillets), (1973). Ink and collage on board, 15 3/8 x 15 3/4 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.
Untitled (Jackson Pollock Fillets), (1973). Ink and collage on board, 15 3/8 x 15 3/4 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.

 

Untitled (Ray Johnson and Wall Street Urinal Bunnies), (1994). Collage on board, 32 x 7 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.
Untitled (Ray Johnson and Wall Street Urinal Bunnies), (1994). Collage on board, 32 x 7 inches. © The Estate of Ray Johnson.