Flashback: Ray Johnson’s Mail Art


Greta Rainbow was the writer for this Flashback piece for The McGill Tribune
Read on ︎The McGill Tribune

The McGill Tribune is an independent, entirely student-run newspaper at McGill University, with a publication of 5,000 weekly print copies. It has covered McGill, Canada and the world since 1981.


“‘Ray Johnson are the funniest artist currently working in America.’

This sentence is not written in error, nor was it originally when first scrawled in black marker across a page of addresses and cryptic notes. Ray Johnson is the founder of the New York Correspondance School, which included over 100 artists involved in the ’50s-’60s New York culturescape in a self-conscious network of sending and receiving. The collective used the United States Postal Service to send out their art; they circulated collages, drawings, and witticisms that relied on cultural references for the receiver to interpret and understand. Thus they created an ‘intimate bureaucracy’ alternative to the massive bureaucracy of institutions like the mail service.”