"If an unsophisticated person without malice, asked Ray a question, he might well answer it simply, but if a person were twisted with too many prior assumptions that interfered with honest immediacies, Ray was likely to reply at a tangent that did not intersect with or combine with the question. He had the courage of his style in circumstances which could have been dangerous, especially because he did not easily accept the self-stylizations of people who were performing within self-important bureaucratic roles. If people took themselves seriously as representatives of powers other than their own well-earned powers—anything such as the power of money—then Ray was not going to take them seriously. [footnote #37, page 60, In an alternative statement, Ray preferred innocence that failed to most successes; but he did not admire the failures of the brazenly successful.]" (page 29 - 30)
Text by William S. Wilson, “The Art of Friendship,” Ray Johnson: Black Mountain College Dossier #4, BMC Museum & Arts Center, Asheville, NC, 1997. [link to full text: http://bit.ly/1ScwyOG]
Untitled, undated mailing by Ray Johnson 

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Comment by Miss Noma 2 on June 28, 2016 at 10:38pm

Dear Mister Richard C., Thanks for sharing your insightful response. You keenly articulated an aspect of Bill’s writing that I particularly admire, that he was so receptive and responsive to anyone sincerely interested in Ray Johnson’s work (and other topics too), especially us naive folk, like students and artists, hoping & trying to learn & create. My impression of Ray Johnson is that he was similarly open to correspondence with any willing participants. I am grateful to you and other mail artists who carry on this admirable conduct.  Have you written more about your experiences corresponding with Ray Johnson (and Bill? and others? thots about yr own mail making? networks they are a changin?, whudabout yr archive? pix? etc., &c.)? Us pseudo-historian-archivist-types really enjoy that sort of thang.  Best wishes & many thanks. –M.N.2.

Comment by Richard Canard on June 28, 2016 at 4:37am

27.06.19 Dare Miss Noma, ...I first wrote to Ray Johnson when I was a  young art student (Western Carolina College in Cullowhee, Nawf Karolinah) during the mid-sixties as a result of reading an article in the New York Times about his first gallery exhibition at the Willard Gallery.  Much to my pleasure, I did eventually receive a response only to be followed (as time progressed) by a seemingly endless exchange of  postcards & letters.  After more literature about Ray Johnson began to surface, I gradually learned more about the artist & the uniqueness of his personality. At some point, my naivete became even recognizable to myself. In fact, (if I may be so bold to suggest or is it more like a confession?)  I suspect that Bill Wilson had me (& other somewhat similar individuals) in mind when he wrote this. Thanx for posting. Sincelery, Richard Canard   

Comment by Toni Hanner -- tonipoet on June 27, 2016 at 10:31pm
I love "he preferred innocence that failed to most successes....."

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