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Ray Johnson: Add to and Returns

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Johnson never stopped exploring the possibilities of communication. He developed 'add to and returns' which were photocopied mailings asking the receiver to add to the page and return it to Johnson or a specified recipient. In theory Johnson would send those pages out again, creating original pieces through collaboration.

One example of these is Bill de Kooning's Bicylce Seat. As rumor has it, Johnson added to one of these himself, carrying the joke a bit further by turning the drawing sideways, adding an eye and a slack in what now looked like a beak and labeling it “Bill Duckooning.”

In the 1970’s he developed the idea of the fan club. These fictional groups were created around celebrities or ideas (the Cher Fan Club, Shelley Duvall Fan Club, Deadpan Fan Club, Willem de Kooning Fan Club...) and play with the ideas of mail as a means of communication, celebrity, and collage.

Evening Gown

Bill de Kooning's Bicycle Seat
Bunny Stamps

Home Life Correspondence Add to and Returns Legacy
Last updated:
July 12, 2018