Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Zoom Meeting: Ray Johnson (Un)Birthday Celebration

Hosted by Cary Loren and The Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield Oak Park, Michigan
Thursday, October 14, 2021 

A Ray Johnson discussion and (Un)Birthday celebration held as an online Zoom Meeting to honor the artist. Cary Loren hosted the Meeting and John Held Jr., Richard Pieper, and Weslea Sidon joined me, since each of them interviewed Ray Johnson, and their interviews were published in That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson, which I edited.

Recording available:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Workshop: Environmental Humanities at Black Mountain College : Ray Johnson + Rivers, Hazel Larsen Archer + Trees, Jonathan Williams + Bluets, Stan VanDerBeek + Willow Reeds + Making John Cage’s Mud Pies

Environmental Humanities at Black Mountain College: 

Ray Johnson + Rivers, Hazel Larsen Archer + Trees, Jonathan Williams + Bluets, Stan VanDerBeek + Willow Reeds + Making John Cage’s Mud Pies

Saturday, September 20, 2019
ReViewing Black Mountain College 11

While art was at the center of the curriculum at Black Mountain College I offer that nature and experiences outdoor were also part of the curriculum there. When interviewed it was sometimes hard for people to put into words the effect of the landscape on them, however their experience of being outdoors, and the varied ways in which they were exposed to natural materials, can be found in their work. For this presentation I shared examples found in the work of five of the College’s artists: Ray Johnson, Hazel Larsen Archer Jonathan Williams, Stan VanDerBeek, and John Cage. 

My talk ended with an invitation to make Mud Pies, after a collaborative reading of John Cage’s and Lois Long’s Mud Book

My hope is that this discussion, and multisensory experience, offers us opportunities to connect to Black Mountain College through natural experiences.  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book- That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson

Edited by Julie J. Thomson
Publication date: September 4, 2018
Published by Soberscove Press
Distributed by ARTBOOK / D.A.P.

Ray Johnson (1927–1995) was a singular artist, whose life and work were inextricably linked. Born in Detroit, Johnson attended Black Mountain College before moving to New York, where his work anticipated Pop art and he was active in early Fluxus circles. Best known for his collages and Mail art activities, including what became known as the New York Correspondence School, he operated fluidly in a wide range of modes. For Johnson, everything and everyone were potential material for his art—any form could become a space for artistic activity—and the form of the interview proved no exception.

That Was the Answer: Interviews with Ray Johnson brings together a selection of interviews and conversations from 1963 to 1987 that offer unique access to Johnson’s distinctive thinking and working methods. Throughout, Johnson’s responses are marked by his humor and close attention to language. Gathering these interviews for the first time, That Was the Answer serves as an exceptional introduction to Ray Johnson as well as a resource for those who are interested in gaining deeper insight into this artist and his kaleidoscopic body of work.

Talk- Two Ways of Looking at Black Mountain College: Ray Johnson and also the Photographers

Two Ways of Looking at Black Mountain College: Ray Johnson and also the Photographers
Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 6:00pm
Black Mountain College Semester, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

In this talk I will combine and share my two areas of research and writing about artists who were at Black Mountain College. The first part will focus on Ray Johnson who was a student at Black Mountain College (1945–48). Johnson led to my interest in the photographers who were at Black Mountain College and the second part of my talk will focus on them and the 2017 exhibition Begin to See:The Photographers of Black Mountain College that I curated.

Talk- Birds in American Art

Birds in American Art
Monday, March, 26, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Birds have been the subject of, and the inspiration for, many American artists. I will present an overview of birds in American art from the nineteenth century through today. Artists whose work will be discussed include Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, Genevieve Estelle Jones, Charles Willson Peale, Titian Ramsay Peale, Winslow Homer, Frank Weston Benson, Marsden Hartley, Charles Burchfield, Walter Inglis Anderson, Andrew Wyeth, Joseph Cornell, Eliot Porter, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Ray Johnson, Robert Adams, Howard Finster, Walton Ford, David Beck, Rachel Berwick, Mark Bradford, Mark Dion, Chris Jordan, Joann Brennan, and Barbara Bosworth. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Presentation: "Mountains Ho!"

Presentation: "Mountains Ho" at ReVIEWING BlackMountain College 9 on September 30, 2017 at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina.

Panel: Landscapes of Black Mountain College
Michaela Dwyer: "Dancing Black Mountain: Space, Place, and the American South"
Julie J. Thomson: "Mountains Ho!"
David Silver: "Pigs and Place at Black Mountain College"
Moderator: Heather South