Ray Johnson


Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995) was an American artist. Known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, he was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art and was described as "New York's most famous unknown artist". Johnson also staged and participated in early performance art events as the founder of a far-ranging mail art network – the New York Correspondence School – which picked up momentum in the 1960s and is still active today. He is occasionally associated with members of the Fluxus movement but was never a member. He lived in New York City from 1949 to 1968, when he moved to a small town in Long Island and remained there until his suicide.

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Studied at the Art Students League in New York 1944-1945, and at Black Mountain College, North Carolina from 1945-1948 under Josef Albers. At Black Mountain he met and associated with John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and Richard Lippold. His work involved collage, found objects, and elements of performance, including mail or correspondence art. He circulated art through the postal service under the names "New York Correspondance School" and "Buddha University." He committed suicide under mysterious circumstances that he may have considered a final work of art.

Country of birth

United States


Artist, collagist, painter, performance artist, photographer, sculptor

ULAN identifier



Ray Johnson, Raymond Johnson, Raymond Edward Johnson

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed May 13, 2024.