I heard a viewer say, "This looks like a Warhol," upon glancing at the piece, JamesDean/Rimbaud, which shows both men with bold stripes of pink rendered in marker across their faces. Considering that the piece was made in 1956-58 and predates Warhol's iconic pop paintings by half a decade, it is certain that Johnson influenced his friend's popular artwork, as artists who run in similar circles tend to do.
Much of the work should be regarded as physical relics of actual art pieces. Johnson's postal performances, for example, had a lot to do with the actual mailing and receiving of letters and envelopes he created. With that action removed, the letters are now what remain of the original art piece. There are several on hand to check out in this exhibit, and even some that Johnson had created in 1943 — two years before he attended Black Mountain College.
There are so many facets to Johnson as an artist, and his personal life in many ways was also an art piece...To see a collection of this importance in such an intimate setting is a privilege indeed.
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