Publications

This digitized collection of William S. Wilson’s published writing is not complete—many texts have not been scanned yet. Each title links to a PDF scanned from the print publication or a photocopy in Bill’s archive. The texts are arranged chronologically on this page and sorted by subject matter in the menu above. I’ll standardize the format of the citations and adjust alignment of the pages of the PDFs to make them easier to read online soon. I also plan to add short annotations for each text and possibly a glossary of major themes.

For those unfamiliar with Bill’s writing, I have recommended a few essays that could serve as an introduction to his way of thinking and to key themes in his work.

Recommended: 

“Ray Johnson: En Rapport” in catalogue of show of same title, Feigen Contemporary, New York, 2006.  This essay provides an analysis of the ways in which Ray Johnson constructed inter-relations between networks of people and images in his social interactions, collages, and mail art. Wilson overviews the numerous connections Johnson formed between people such as his classmates and the faculty at Black Mountain College, his neighbors in Manhattan, artists he met at openings and many others. Wilson also discusses Johnson’s interweaving of ideas and images drawn from such diverse sources as European Modernisms, popular culture, and Asian religio-philosophies. In addition to emphasizing the importance of the surface of Johnson’s collages, Wilson explains Johnson’s use of silhouette profiles, which he interprets as being related to the limits of self-knowledge and knowledge of another person.

“The Art of Friendship” in Ray Johnson at Black Mountain College (published as Dossier #4), BMC Museum & Arts Center, Asheville, NC, 1997

“A Book About A Book About Death,”Kunstverein, Amsterdam, 2010

“Eva Hesse: Alone and/or Only With”, Artspace, September-October 1992

“Thought Made Visible” in Mel Bochner: Continuous/Dis/Continuous, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1995

Alison Knowles’s “The Big Book”, The Journal of Typographic Research, July 1968.
Fluxus artist Alison Knowles’s “Big Book” was an eight-foot-tall book into which readers could physically enter and interact with the objects within its mobile pages. Circular in structure, “The Big Book” included a tunnel lined with artificial glass, a functioning compact kitchen, a ladder, windows, and other collaged spaces. In this essay, Wilson explains the ways in which Knowles’s book is “in a continuous state of deconstruction and construction” which elicits reciprocal modification between reader and book.

“Conveyance: The Story I Would Not Want Bill Wilson to Read”, The Paris Review, no. 70, Summer 1977

“Joseph McElroy- fathoming the field” – electronic book review, December 30, 1996

 

Chronological Bibliography

2000s

William S. Wilson on the Internet: another website collection of Bill’s writing with focus on online posts and essays. Compiled by Dan Visel

“Ray Johnson and Dick Higgins: Reciprocities” by William S. Wilson, from the publication Black Mountain College Studies, vol. 8: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Paper Snake 2015

“Ray Johnson Aboveboard” in From BMC to NYC: The Tutelary Years of Ray Johnson, BMC Museum & Arts Center, Asheville, NC, 2010 [via The Ray Johnson Estate]
One of five essays in this well-illustrated catalogue, Wilson’s text “Ray Johnson Aboveboard” addresses the relation between Johnson and the poet Marianne Moore through an analysis of their hats. Stemming from Johnson’s use of images of Moore in his collages and the artist’s particular delight in her signature tricorn hat, Wilson discusses the ways in which hats function as images of the wearer’s imagination: both shape-making and shape-shifting. Moore’s androgynous tricorn hat has a military air, which suggests strategy and reason, while Johnson’s sailor’s watch-cap portrays him as an attentive sailor floating on the surface above depths. Quoting one of his early essays, Wilson compares Moore’s quotation of herself to Johnson’s use of fragments of his own collages since both emphasized small verbal and visual units.

“A Book About A Book About Death,”Kunstverein, Amsterdam, 2010

“Ray Johnson: Challenging Rectangles” in show of same title, Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York, 2008

“Finite But Unbounded” in Ray Johnson: The Early Years, Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York, 2007

Retrospections on West 23rd St, June 15, 2006

“Ray Johnson: En Rapport” in catalogue of show of same title, Feigen Contemporary, New York, 2006
This essay provides an analysis of the ways in which Ray Johnson constructed inter-relations between networks of people and images in his social interactions, collages, and mail art. Wilson overviews the numerous connections Johnson formed between people such as his classmates and the faculty at Black Mountain College, his neighbors in Manhattan, artists he met at openings and many others.  Wilson also discusses Johnson’s interweaving of ideas and images drawn from such diverse sources as European Modernisms, popular culture, and Asian religio-philosophies. In addition to emphasizing the importance of the surface of Johnson’s collages, Wilson explains Johnson’s use of silhouette profiles, which he interprets as being related to the limits of self-knowledge and knowledge of another person.

“Jackson Pollock and Ray Johnson: Participant Observers” in Dear Jackson Pollock: Collages and Objects by Ray Johnson, Pollock-Krasner House, East Hampton, NY, 2003

“The End of Exemptions for Beauty”, Electronic Book Review, posted January 2003

“The Exemptions of Beauty”, Exit, London, no. 4, Spring-Summer, 2002

“Ray Johnson and the Number 13,” Blastitude, no. 13, August 2002

“Ray Johnson’s First ‘Please Send To’”, Lightworks Ray Johnson Issue, no. 22, 2000. Editor: Charlton Burch

“The One and the Other” in Ray Johnson: Correspondences, Wexner Arts Center, Columbus, Ohio / Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2000 [via The Ray Johnson Estate]

1990s

Beatty, Frances, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chuck Close, Arthur Danto, Andrew Hoyem, James Rosenquist, Amei Wallach, John Willenbecher, William S. Wilson, “Dear Friends of Ray, and Audiences of One”, New York Times, February 28, 1999

“Mel Bochner: Operational Mischief”, On Paper, July-Aug 1998

“The Art of Friendship” in Ray Johnson at Black Mountain College (published as Dossier #4), BMC Museum & Arts Center, Asheville, NC, 1997

“Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation”, Art Journal, Spring 1997

“Salvaging Harold Brodkey”, American Book Review, May-June 1997

“Joseph McElroy- fathoming the field” – electronic book review, December 30, 1996

“Abstract Surrealism”, American Book Review, April-May 1996

“Dan Flavin: Specifying Light”. Trans>, vol. 1 no. 2, 1996

“Eva Hesse: On the Threshold of Illusions” in Inside the Visible. Boston: ICA / Kortrijk, Belgium: Kanaal Art Foundation, 1995. Editor: M. Catherine De Zegher

“Thought Made Visible” in Mel Bochner: Continuous/Dis/Continuous, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1995

“Marjorie Welish” in solo exhibition, E.M. Donahue Gallery, New York, 1993

“Matisse: Immured in Light”, Art Press (international edition), Paris, December 1993

“Henri Matisse: A Retrospective”, Artspace, December 1992

“Reports from New York: Abstract Painting: On a Manhattan Ice Floe II”, Artspace, July/August 1992

“Report from New York: Abstract Painting: On a Manhattan Ice Floe I”, Artspace, May/June 1992

untitled review of “Hypertext”, American Book Review, June/July 1992

“An Icefloe in Swan Lake”, Temporary Culture, no. 7, November 1992

“Eva Hesse: Alone and/or Only With”, Artspace, September-October 1992

1980s

“And/Or: One or the Other, or Both” in Sequence (con) Sequence: Subversions of Photography in the 1980s, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: Bard College, 1989

“Cezanne’s Rapport” in Writers On Artists. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1988. Editor: Daniel Halpern

“Learning/Writing” Columbia, no. 12, 1987

“The Life of the Doll in Art” in The Doll Show, C.W. Post, Long Island University, New York, 1985

“Reversals”, American Book Review, September/October 1985

“Plane Geometry: Parabolas of Love”, New York Times book Review, June 2, 1985

“Ann Beattie’s Implications”, Mississippi Review, no. 40/41, Winter 1985

“The Role of the Writer on Campus”, Queens College Alumni News, Fall 1982

1970s

“Robert Smithson: Non-Reconciliations”, Arts magazine, May 1978

“Ray Johnson Ray Johnson Ray Johnson John Willenbecher”, New York: Between Books Press, 1977. Reprints of previously published articles, mostly by W.S. Wilson

“Ray Johnson Ray Johnson “, New York: Between Books Press, 1977. Reprints of previously published articles, mostly by W.S. Wilson

“Reference and Relation,” Art Journal, Spring 1977

Reference and Relation in “Send Letters, Postcards, Drawings and Objects – The New York Correspondence School”, Art Journal, vol. XXXVI/3, Spring 1977.   [via The Ray Johnson Estate]

“Ralph Humphrey: An Apology for Painting”, Artforum, November 1977

“Conveyance: The Story I Would Not Want Bill Wilson to Read”, The Paris Review, no. 70, Summer 1977

“The Comedian as the Letter” in Correspondence. An Exhibition of the Letters of Ray Johnson, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 1976 [via The Ray Johnson Estate]

“Where Love May Now Be Sheer Energy of Attention”, Antaeus, no. 21/22, Spring/Summer 1976

“Ralph Humphrey”, Arts magazine, February 1976

“Ralph Humphrey”, Arts magazine, February 1975

“John Willenbecher: Pyramids, Spheres, & Labyrinths”, Arts magazine, March 1975

“The Paintings of Joseph Raffael”, Studio International, May 1974

“Joseph Levi: In the Eye of the Beholder”, Artnews, February 1970

“Ray Johnson: Letters of Reference”, Arts magazine, February 1970

“Dan Flavin: Fiat Lux”, Artnews, January 1970

1960s

“Operational Images” in Directions 2: Aspects of a New Realism, Milwaukee Arts Center, 1969

“John Clem Clarke Transmits a Picture”, Artnews, Summer 1969

“Operational Color”, Artnews, January 1969

“Vincent De Beauvais’ ‘Speculum Historiale’: A Mirror on the Late Medieval World”, Auction, January 1969

“Focus, Meter, and Operations in Poetry”, Stonybrook, nos. 3/4, Fall 1969

“The Big Book”, The Journal of Typographic Research, July 1968

““The Big Book” re Alison Knowles, Art in America, July 1968
Fluxus artist Alison Knowles’s “Big Book” was an eight-foot-tall book into which readers could physically enter and interact with the objects within its mobile pages. Circular in structure, “The Big Book” included a tunnel lined with artificial glass, a functioning compact kitchen, a ladder, windows, and other collaged spaces. In this essay, Wilson explains the ways in which Knowles’s book is “in a continuous state of deconstruction and construction” which elicits reciprocal modification between reader and book.

“Claes Oldenburg’s Store Days”, Artforum, February 1968

“Grandma Moses of the Underground”, Art and Artists, London, May 1968

“Paul Thek: Love-Death”, Art & Artists, London, April 1968

“Prince of Boredom: The Repetitions and Passivities of Andy Warhol”, Art & Artists, London, March 1968

“Scholastic Logic in Chaucer’s House of Fame”, The Chaucer Review, Winter 1967

“The Paintings of Joe Raffael”, Art and Artists, London, September 1966

“Lowell Nesbitt: Interior Spaces” in catalogue for show of same title, Howard Wise Gallery, New York, 1966

“New York Correspondence School”, Art & Artists, London, April 1966

introduction to The Paper Snake by Ray Johnson. New York Something Else Press, 1965

“The Eagle’s Speech in Chaucer’s House of Fame”, The Quarterly Journal of Speech, April 1964

“Exegetical Grammar in The House of Fame”, English Language Notes, June 1964

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