Ray Johnson laughing from beyond the grave?

And he was the father of mail art, spreading his collages and Delphic text works through a vast web of fellow artists, friends and complete strangers, making him a one-man social-media platform for a pre-Internet age.

But the art world may be finally starting to conquer Mr. Johnson’s will to resist it. A spate of books, exhibitions and museum acquisitions has come along in recent months, as his work has been discovered, yet again, by a generation of younger artists, like Matt Connors, Hanna Liden, Adam McEwen and Harmony Korine. This time, as money and power loom ever more powerfully in art circles, it seems to be Mr. Johnson’s role as a heroic-comic Bartleby that makes him particularly attractive to younger artists. But the shape-shifting ways in which he operated outside art’s normal channels — through the post office, street performances and artist’s books — also resonate for 21st-century artists whose work fits uneasily into the conventions of museums and galleries.


via Ray Johnson Defies Categories 20 Years After His Death | NYTimes.com.


 

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