Ray Johnson: The Art of Friendship

William S. Wilson, Ray Johnson The Art of Friendship, BMC 4

“Ray made art as a way to think about what was real to him—to think about the visual arts and to think about friendship. The art of collage was most useful to him as a means of thinking about friends. He made art so that his collages were, as works of art, one of the variables in friendship. His art was a friendly endeavor, like philosophy among the Greeks in Plato’s dialogues, so that there was for him no art which was not an activity among friends. From a few such axioms many theorems follow: that art was not for profit or fame, nor even for disinterested contemplation in a purposeful purposelessness. Ultimately the most satisfying art for him was the art of friendship. Loving movement, he used art to set a set of friends in motion.” (page 12)

Link to a PDF of the full text: 
William S. Wilson, “The Art of Friendship,” Ray Johnson: Black Mountain College Dossier #4, BMC Museum & Arts Center, Asheville, NC, 1997.

Purchase a print copy from the Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center

More of Wilson’s essays about Ray Johnson: https://williamswilsonwritings.wordpress.com/ray-johnson/

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