Ray Johnson, NEW YORK CORRESPONDANCE SCHOOL EXHIBITION, Whitney Museum of Art, New York, 1970
Artists: 106 contributions by artists including Ay-O, Eugenia Butler, Luis Camnitzer, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, and Yoko Ono
Duration: September 2–October 6, 1970
Dimensions: 17.7 x 17.7 cm
Further Information: Building on a larger network of artists, the New York Correspondence School was founded by the artist Ray Johnson. The name of this loose group was at times deliberately misspelled (as the New York Correspondance School)—an ironic comment on the abstract expressionism labelled as the “New York School”. The New York Correspondence School was a major part of the international art movement of correspondence art, or mail art, which, from the 1950s, used postal communication for artistic interventions and actions. In 1970, the curator Marcia Tucker invited Johnson to do a show at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York. Johnson published an open call, subsequently printed on the invitation’s front: “SEND LETTERS, POST CARDS, DRAWINGS AND OBJECTS TO MARCIA TUCKER, NEW YORK CORRESPONDANCE SCHOOL EXHIBITION, WHITNEY MUSEUM, MADISON AVE. AND 75 ST, N.Y.C. 10021.” Following the call, 106 artists send their responses to Tucker, who exhibited each response/contribution without any further curatorial intervention. Johnson himself chose not to exhibit any of his own works, but contributed a short letter that was printed on the inside of the invitation card. The letter begins and ends with the sentence “MAKE LOVE LETTERS NOT WAR.”
Images: Images of the invitation and all other archival documents shown on this page are part of the online collection of Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.