Ray Johnson deliberately cultivated his own obscurity. As a result, he has been relegated to the footnotes of postwar American art history. On Site: Ray Johnson’s New York will reevaluate this minor art historical status, revealing his highly visible and, indeed, catalytic role in the downtown New York art world. This project examines the performative and site-specific dimensions of Johnson’s practice in the decade before his mail art network was codified as The New York Correspondence School in 1962. Yet, more than simply recuperative, this study aims to provide an alternative genealogy for the networked and relational practices that have come to dominate the field of contemporary art over the past two decades.

Johanna Gosse is a historian of modern and contemporary art and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Art History & Archaeology at Columbia University. She earned her PhD in the history of art from Bryn Mawr College in 2014, with a dissertation on the experimental films of Bruce Conner. An article derived from her dissertation on Conner’s films appeared in the fall 2015 issue of Camera Obscura, published by Duke University Press.