Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Le Chat Noir. Borgergade. Copenhagen. Sitting here with too much coffee running around my system looking at Ray Johnson's wonderful stuff.

Ray Johnson's Bunny
The bodyless Ray Johnson bunny is something like a genetic mutant mickey mouse engineered to be a rabbit, or visa versa. Johnson has claimed the cartoon tag to be personal self portraits varied by the daily mood changes in his life. Ray Johnson has drawn "how to make Ray Johnson bunnies step by step," a parady similar to correspondence art school ads challenging readers to "draw this portrait" and return for analysis. Indeed, through the years Johnson regularly asked friends and strangers alike to alter his bunny heads, what Ray termed as "add-ons." At other times the bunnies were assigned the names of persons either famous, unknown, or known only to Ray and his circle of friends, collectively known as the New York Correspondence School.

"Death Stamp"
Rumors of Ray Johnson's death spread instantly throughout the mail art network when a triangular death stamp appeared in 1989. Johnson was legendary for pulling pranks like killing his New York Correspondence School in a "New York Times" obituary (April 5, 1973) and then instantly rebirthing it as "Buddha University." The legendary "Death Stamp" was created as a ruse by Johnson, living then as a "living dead legend." When Johnson died on January 13, 1995, many friends, including me, were skeptical of the news thinking it was just another ploy, prompting the immediate response, "This time he's REALLY DEAD." Within days after Ray Johnson's death, I received a spooky letter with Johnson's return address and his handwritten inscription, "I Am Dead." Later, the network learned that California mail artist Johnny Tostada mailed the fake letters in the true Johnsonian spirit of playful parody.


and these:

"...the return of the primitive, to incantation and ritual, to the coming together again of music and poetry, the amalgamation with movement and dance, the growth of the voice to its full physical powers again as part of the body, the body as language."

'An Anthology of Concrete Poetry.' Emmett Williams

"your work isn't a high stakes, nail-biting professional challenge. it's a form of play. lighten up and have fun with it."

Sol LeWitt

and something cheerful from the bible:

"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly: and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it: and it had ten horns."

The Book of Daniel

Its that last bit. Ten horns! Thats just showing off.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?