Ray Johnson, the "famously unknown" Long Island artist who committed suicide by jumping off a Sag Harbor bridge in 1995, will be celebrated in a collaborative exhibition opening Monday at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University.
"Ray Johnson and a Book About Death" features postcard-size works by artists from around the United States and 29 other countries, as well as a series of video, spoken-word and performance-art presentations - a collective form known as "Fluxus."
"This is an amazing opportunity to become part of the rich, worldwide art community while exploring a universal subject," says Joan Harrison, a C.W. Post art professor who co-curated the show with alumna LuAnn Pagano Palazzo and Constance Sloggatt Wolf. The exhibit runs only five days, through Friday.
Johnson, who lived in Locust Valley and was associated with C.W. Post's Hillwood Museum, was a Fluxus artist known as the "father of mail art." Also called "intermedia" - a term familiar to fans of the now-shuttered Inter-Media Art Center in Huntington - Fluxus is a mashup of various media, combining text, sound, images and performance. Perhaps the highest profile Fluxus figures - John Cage and Yoko Ono - are best known in musical contexts. Following his first solo show in 1965, Johnson was dubbed "the most famous unknown artist in New York."
The Post exhibit includes facsimiles of unbound pages from Johnson's original "A Boop [sic] About Death." The show draws from more than 300 artworks dealing with death.
"Night of the Living Fluxus: Performance and Video Evening" - a reception and primer for those who may be unfamiliar with intermedia art - will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday. Taking place in and around the gallery space, the evening's events include William Evertson's "Kali Shadow Theatre"; Meredith Toto's video installation "What Sneeze Are You?"; a lecture by C.W. Post professor Rachel Baum; a video clip performance, "The Space Inside," by C.W. Post professor Maria Porter, and works incorporating poetry, dance and audience interaction.
WHAT "Ray Johnson and a Book About Death"
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, reception and performances 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, at the Student Art League Gallery, Hillwood Commons, C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, Brookville
INFO Free; rayjohnsonandabookaboutdeath.blogspot.com, 516-299-2000