Ray Johson is credited as the author of the book, The Paper Snake New York : Something Else Press, 1965
Lawrence Alloway. "Send Letters, Postcards, Drawings and Objects..." Plunkett, Edward M. et al. Art Journal 36.3 (Spring), 235
The suggestion being that the nature of mail art involves more than can be covered within the scope of this paper. (ie. the use of mail paraphernalia like rubber stamps, as well as polittics involved in the 'movement', which is discussed in detail elsewhere, such as in Chuck Welch's Eternal Network : A Mail Art Anthology (Calgary : University of Calgary Press, 1995))
Peter Frank. Something Else Press : An Annotated Bibliography ([New Paltz, NY] : McPherson, 1983), 8. It is interesting that I was not able to get this quote from the book itself, as the forward appeared on the dust jacket which was removed at the time of cataloguing for the UBC library collection. Although this is standard practice (the dust jacket must receive special attention in preservation and so it is easier to simply discard it), it is obviously frustrating for the researcher as it often contains key information. (It is also a concern of archivists that library practice includes the stamping of ownership and the stickering of barcodes and Due Date sheets on materials which may prove to be of value. Perhaps Ray would have considered this as a collage-like element...)
Wilson, With Ray : The Art of Friendship ([North Carolina] : Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, 1997), 57, note 1.
Kasha Linville. "New York : Ray Johnson, Whitney Museum." Artforum 9.3 (Nov. 1970), 86
William Wilson. "NY Correspondence School." Art and Artists 1.1 (April 1966), 54
Henry Martin, "Send Letters, Postcards, Drawings and Objects..." Art Journal 36.3 (Spring), 238.
Wilson, "Ray Johnson : NY correspondence school." Art and Artists 1.1 (April 1966), 54
Jean-Marc Poinsot. "Utilizations of Postal Institutions and Long-Distance Communications" Mail Art : Communication, A Distance Concept Paris : Editions CEDIC, 1971.
Ken Friedman. "The Early Days of Mail Art", Eternal Network : A Mail Art Anthology
Diane Spodarek and Randy Delbeke, "Ray Johnson"Detroit Artists Monthly 3.2 (Feb. 1978), 4
Wilson, With Ray, 29
Not a lot has been written about his 'Nothings', a reaction to the contemporaneous 'Happenings'. Interestingly, two attempts towards a definition of Ray's mail art would be: "a continuous happening by mail" (Albright, Correspondence Art, 208) and "a continuing non-linear happening' (Michael Morris, "Ray Johnson", Concrete Poetry [exhibition catalogue] Vancouver : UBC Fine Arts Gallery, 1963)
"1966 Problem Page 70". I started with all the Artforum issues of 1966...not there. I then checked the postmark on the letter, May 1968 (which is the only indication of the date sent, by the way, its not on the letter...good thing these were kept together). So I checked all those of 1968. Found it in May in the section called "Vancouver" by Alvin Balkind, Vol 6 no9, 68-70. The Problem painting was on page 70. No "missal" notation in my copy though.
"I've been labeled as the Father of Correspondence Mail Art, which I probably am..." Spodarek, 3.
"Contrary" is borrowed from Wilson, as in "He is the mean between contrary extremes, and he is himself extreme and contrary." from "Ray Johnson : The Comedian as the Letter", liner notes for Correspondence : an Exhibition of the Letters of Ray Johnson (Raleigh, N.C. : North Carolina Museum of Art, 1976)
Concrete Poetry [exhibition catalogue]. Ray Johnson was asked to participate in this exhibition at UBC, curated by Alvin Balkind, at the request of Michael Morris. Ray flew out for the opening (details of his stay with Michael are provided in their correspondence in the Morris/Trasov archive), and made the artistic-executive decision to not display his works for that night. Jeff Wall responded rather caustically to this in an otherwise positive review of the show (Artforum 7.10 Sum 1969 : 70-71)
Wilson, Art of Friendship, 2.
The founding date of Image Bank cannot easily be confirmed, as the sources vary. (1968 was mentioned by Vincent Trasov, and so I record that here. However, some sources also suggest that a third artist was involved, but rumour has it that that is not officially acknowledged for personal reasons, and so I do not record anything of the sort here. I only bring it up to demonstrate the misleading nature of recorded 'history'.)
File was published by the Toronto-based group General Idea, and could be purchased in selected art-related venues. They once ran a popularity contest "with Ray Johnson topping the poll and Image Bank coming third" Joan Lowndes, "Directions : Art." (The Vancouver Sun 12 May 1972, A8)
Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov. Art & Correspondence from the Western Front Vancouver : Western Front Publication, 1979, 5
Especially of interest is Scott Watson's essay in Hand of the Spirit (Vancouver : UBC Fine Arts Gallery, 1994)
Some letters were simply, and always politely, labelled "Please send to Michael Morris" without any further address. Did Ray know that the in-between person knew Michael and where he lived? Or was this an added step expected, to perhaps check an artist directory such as in File to find the address?
Wilson, "NY Correspondence School", 55.
Two prominent exhibits include the New York Correspondence School Show at the Whitney Museum of American Art (curated by Ray Johnson and Marcia Tucker), and Correspondence, An Exhibition of the Letters of Ray Johnson North Carolina Museum of Art (Moussa Domit and Richard Craven). Each of these included letters that were sent to Michael and Vincent, and presumably are still in the Morris/Trasov Archive.
Wilson, Correspondence : an Exhibition of the Letters of Ray Johnson