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
As mentioned in the movie, Ray Johnson may have been, "The most famous artist that you've never heard of." I've seen a large collection of his work first hand, in fact, as I've learned it could have been the largest show of his work prior to his death. Johnson, among may other things, was about duality, in the review prior to mine, the reviewer gave the film a poor review. If one is not inclined to enjoy or understand the subtleties of conceptual art, then by all means this is not the DVD for you. However, Johnson occupies a position in the art of the 50's and 60's that is important and this film shows his relevance as detailed by other "greats" of the day. Nothing was ever at face value in Johnson or his work. Each piece presents layers of meanings through images that continue to give. I wholeheartedly recommend this film. There is a great deal of "extra" content. For the searcher looking from answers about his art, this is the best place to begin. For the working "Mail Artist" is revered as the documentary of the artist who "started it all". Enigmatic, yes...but Johnson made himself his own work of art. This movie reveals more about him in a short period of time than any other source. Two great books are also available about his life and work. I gave this a full TEN stars. I have watched it repeatedly and and will view it many other times. Very well put together with an interesting soundtrack.
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