Ray Johnson’s A Book About Death, page 2

Ray Johnson, A book about Death, page 2

“The pleasures of the cigar are inseparable from the death of the cigar as it goes up in smoke, as its most useful emptying the outside world of its mass. A cigar-band, much surface, little mass, is a souvenir of an awakening of the mind to an interior emptiness that can be filled by smoke from an object which perishes in the act of filling the emptiness. The ephemeral smoke from a cigar combines with Ray’s concern with brief, intense events like a sudden downpour of rain, or a moment as brief and as engaging as a haiku. For Ray, a haiku was not only a poem with words, it was a criterion for a collage, for a dance, and for a photograph.”

Text by William S. Wilson in “A Book About A Book About Death,”Kunstverein, Amsterdam, 2010

Image: Page 2 of “A Book About Death,” by Ray Johnson, “John Son and John Son Cigar Bands from the Diane Wakoski Collection.” Printed March 15, 1963 (the Ides of March; formerly income-tax day)

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