Believing that one thing was real only insofar as it corresponded with others, twentieth-century collage and correspondence artist Ray Johnson highlighted the connections between himself and other artists including Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Anni Albers, and especially Marcel Duchamp. This study of Johnson through the lens of Duchamp and the other artists who inspired him entails the investigation of hieroglyphs, codes, action figures, queer theory, and cultural history. By examining Johnson’s art in relation to his main inspirations, this critical work brings new light to the study of Johnson and to the dynamic networks of artistic inheritance and correspondence of the twentieth century.
Kate Dempsey Martineau earned her PhD from the University of Texas. An independent scholar, she explores the intersecting art and political climates of the 1950s and 1960s as well as the complex relationships within the burgeoning New York art world.