Ray Johnson… Dali/Warhol/and others… ‘Main Ray, Ducham, Openheim, Pikabia…’, will reveal the shared interests and iconography of Ray Johnson, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol. The exhibition will feature an exciting selection of previously unexhibited collages by Johnson that will show his distinct and incessant layering of re-appropriated imagery from Surrealism, high culture, and Pop Art. The three artists all exploited celebrity – both their own and others’ – and constructed powerful personae that were an integral part of their work. While Dali and Warhol sought the limelight in order to promote their art, Johnson was more interested in dodging in and out of it and became famous for being ‘unknown.’
The lives and the art of Johnson, Dali, and Warhol were intertwined, from the Factory to Studio 54, from the late 1950s through the 1980s. The exhibition will illustrate Johnson’s exploration of themes common to Dali and Warhol – celebrity, gender ambiguity, and religion. Collages and mail art by Johnson and works by Dali and Warhol share references to Marilyn Monroe, Mae West, the Mona Lisa, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, and Jesus Christ. As curator Frédérique Joseph-Lowery discusses, “For all three artists, the female body became a sort of rendez-vous of experimentation for formal strategies regarding the interaction and ‘relationship’ of painting, collage, photography, stamping, photocopying…”
An illustrated catalogue, including an essay by Frédérique Joseph-Lowery, will accompany the exhibition.