Ray Johnson


Beaufort’s Ray Johnson, 74, enlisted in the United States Army in 1967 at Fort Benning, Ga. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War, Central America combat operations, and the Iraq War. He attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning and graduated from Army flight school in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard from 1967 to 2007.

“New York’s Most Famous Unknown Artist”: Getting to Know Ray Johnson

Lauren Schultz: Caitlin and Jordan, I thought we could start by talking about Ray Johnson himself and who he was as an artist. You mention in the exhibition description that he had been called “New York’s most famous unknown artist” and that he remains a somewhat enigmatic figure, perhaps because he worked in so many various and intersecting formats. Could you give us a brief introduction to, or overview of, Ray Johnson?

Our species has ruined our planet -- Ray Johnson

In mid-October, I awoke to the first day of my 80th year on planet Earth, a tiny and totally isolated ecosystem, adrift in a seemingly infinite void of apparent nothingness. My first waking thought was how deeply my heart aches on behalf of my planet and the mind-boggling array of fascinating other species with which I share it. For my own species, my heart aches not so much.

UW needs to get its 'swagger' back -- Ray Johnson

Bo Ryan, Mike Leckrone and Barry Alvarez have all retired. Unique individuals each, a common thread they shared was swagger, star power, and an infectious, often flamboyant aura that generated a palpable buzz of excitement. They commanded our attention wherever they went. What is the dominant current flavor of the...
West Hawaii Today

Ray Johnson, actor, poet, Hilo icon, dies at 90

Raymond Johnson, an actor, poet and one of downtown Hilo’s most iconic individuals, died Monday. He was 90. A fixture at local stage plays, concerts and art show openings, Johnson was a tall, bearded, striking man whose manner of dress included bright colors, beads, bangles and jaunty headwear — and in later years, a walking stick. He walked downtown almost daily, chatting amiably with everyone.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Ray Johnson, actor, poet, Hilo icon, dies at 89

CORRECTION 8/19/21: A previous version of this story misidentified Johnson as the actor who played the bank robber in the film “Dirty Harry.” While he was in the film, he had another role, identified in the corrected text. The bank robber was played by the late actor Albert Popwell. Johnson would’ve turned 90 on Nov. 11. And while he lived in Oregon, it was not in a commune. Services, survivors and other information should appear in a standard obituary yet to be published. The Tribune-Herald regrets the errors.
Village Voice

‘What a Dump’ Delves Into the Irreverent World of Ray Johnson

The word “camp” doesn’t mean much today. The sensibility has dissolved completely into our culture, like sugar. Of course, there are revivalists, post-camp superstars, in particular Lady Gaga and Björk, and very un-campy museum surveys, such as the 2018 Met gala Camp: Notes On Fashion, which turned camp into a historical trope. The memes and trends of online humor aren’t inherently campy, but their mixture of codedness and accessibility steals from camp and has come to supplant it entirely; you could even say that the Internet killed camp.

Silhouettes and Illuminations: Ray Johnson at David Zwirner

How do you draw a Ray Johnson? The artist’s contours can be difficult to trace. Johnson had been living in seclusion on Long Island for nearly thirty years, appearing mostly through the art he sent friends and strangers in the mail, before he jumped off a Sag Harbor bridge in January 1995. Yet he was also a queer gadabout whose extensive network—established in person and maintained by post—led his friends in the three-artist collective General Idea to affectionately dub him “Dada Daddy.”

Ray Johnson, Pop-Culture Collagist, Master of ‘The Happening’ and the Mysterious World of Zen Emptiness

A new fantastic exhibition of Ray Johnson artworks, collages and memorabilia at David Zwirner Gallery, 525 West 19th Street will be on view until May 22. The exhibit curated by Jarrett Earnest is called ‘Ray Johnson: What A Dump.’ The presentation offers many never-before-exhibited collages and drawings from the 1950s through the 1990s and focuses on Johnson’s obsessions—from Arthur Rimbaud, Yoko Ono, James Dean and, as the curator says, “his queerness” and how he shared with friends and collaborators like David Wojnarowicz, John Giorno, Peter Hujar, Andy Warhol, Sari Dienes as well as the untold numbers who were part of the New York Correspondence School which he founded. The exhibit has inspired me to tell about some personal experiences I had with Ray whom I regarded as a good friend, and who was a brilliant pop-culture collage artist who lived life as if it was itself an art ‘Happening.’ The word for me regarding Ray is unforgettable. Who can forget meeting and hanging out with a real ‘Funny Bunny!’

Ray Johnson recognized as 68th winner of award

Ray Johnson was named the 2020 winner of the J. Neal Ensminger Man of the Year award Thursday night during the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. Johnson, a lifelong McMinn County resident and a member of the last graduating class at J.L. Cook School, was described by all who nominated him as having a “servant’s heart,” as he works with numerous charitable organizations in the community.

David Zwirner Explores Artist Ray Johnson’s Queer Identity in “WHAT A DUMP”

American conceptual artist Ray Johnson pioneered the mail art movement from its inception in 1943, through its explosive critical reception in the ’60s, and until his death in 1995. Most people with an interest in contemporary art know this. With Ray Johnson: WHAT A DUMP, on now at David Zwirner, curator Jarrett Earnest sidesteps the textbook facets of the figure and explores his obsessions and queer identity. Through never-before-seen work, as well as archival material, Earnest presents Johnson’s art as a portrait of an artistic community and a collage of the culture he created within. It’s a transgressive show, and one worthy of the artist.