Not Nothing. Selected Writings by Ray Johnson, 1954-1994
Ray Johnson, considered the progenitor of Correspondence art, blurred the boundaries between life and art, authorship and intimacy. The defining nature of his work were his letters (often both visual and textual in character), intended to be received, replied to (altered and embellished) and read, again and again. This lovingly curated collection of more than 200 mostly previously unpublished writings—including selected letters, minutes for “New York Correspondence School” meetings, hand-written notes and other writings—opens a new view into the whirling flux of Johnson’s art, highlighting his keen sense of play as well as his attuned sensitivity to both language and the shifting nature of meaning. Cumulatively, the writings reveal not only how he created relationships, glyphs and puzzles by connecting words, phrases, people and ideas, but also something about the elusive Johnson himself.
Not Nothing: Selected Writings by Ray Johnson is but one possible selection from thousands of pieces from the Ray Johnson Estate archives. In this chronological presentation, Editor Elizabeth Zuba’s intention is to make space for thoroughly experiencing a pervasive and often overlooked aspect of Johnson’s work: language. With near full-size reproductions of the original pages in color and half-tones, the works in Not Nothing: Selected Writings by Ray Johnson can be easily read—and are revelatory in their diverse but porous modes and in the way they deepen the understanding of Johnson’s entire oeuvre. [puiblisher's note]