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The story of the life of artist Ray Johnson is cloaked in mystery not only at the moment of his death, but also throughout a career that was difficult to know and to understand. As one of the seminal figures in the Pop Art era, Johnson is known as the founding father of mail art and as a collagist extraordinaire. But, overshadowed by those like Warhol who manipulated that world in a very dissimilar manner, he was also a reclusive and sometimes enigmatic figure who has been called New York's most famous unknown artist, but who challenged the commercial and critical establishment. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I had no idea what this documentary was about going in, but a week after watching it, the movie and the artist at its core, Ray Johnson, still haunt me. This is a movie about a person who really had no real life or essence except his art and his ideals. People in his life tell stories about him to try to piece together who he really was and what his life was all about. I don't know that there's ever been an artist or person like Ray Johnson. The curator of his art show says she feels totally "manipulated" by him. Like he left clues so she would know exactly what to do. After you see the film, you may feel as I do, that the film makers made exactly the film Ray Johnson would have wanted. Very spooky in parts, and utterly fascinating. It's practically a who's who of the pop art world.
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