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That Was The Answer:
Interviews with Ray Johnson

Edited by Julie J. Thomson

Ray Johnson (1927–1995) was a singular artist, whose life and work were inextricably linked. Born in Detroit, Johnson attended Black Mountain College before moving to New York, where his work anticipated Pop art and he was active in early Fluxus circles. Best known for his collages and Mail art activities, including what became known as the New York Correspondence School, he operated fluidly in a wide range of modes. For Johnson, everything and everyone were potential material for his art—any form could become a space for artistic activity—and the form of the interview proved no exception.

That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson brings together a selection of interviews and conversations from 1963 to 1987 that offer unique access to Johnson’s distinctive thinking and working methods. Throughout, Johnson’s responses are marked by his humor and close attention to language. Gathering these interviews for the first time, That Was the Answer serves as an exceptional introduction to Ray Johnson as well as a resource for those who are interested in gaining deeper insight into this artist and his kaleidoscopic body of work.

 

JULIE J. THOMSON is an independent scholar and curator who lives in Durham, North Carolina. She curated the 2017 exhibition Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Black Mountain College Studies and Raw Vision, among other publications. 

 

 

 

 

 

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