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Archives and Special Collections: Archive of Artist Ray Johnson: A Bad Archive

Archives and Special Collections is a repository for materials contained in a variety of formats: books, manuscripts, correspondence, journals, photographs, posters, maps, original drawings, theatre programs, archival documents, and other materials.

Collection Facts as a Glance  -  Archive of Artist Ray Johnson: A Bad Archive

Donor Joan Harrison is an author, photographer and now retired Professor of Art of LIU Post. In September 2011, Professor Harrison contributed exhibition materials in many formats to Archives and Special Collections from the Ray Johnson: A BAD Archive (ABAD) exhibit that she co-curated with LuAnn T. Palazzo at the SAL Gallery, LIU Post in November, 2010.

Artist Matthew Rose created the first Ray Johnson: ABAD exhibition in 2009 at the Emily Harvey Foundation in New York City as a tribute to Ray Johnson's artistic creation, A Book About Death.

In 2012, Matthew Rose, who currently lives in Paris, donated 1,000 diverse invitations, announcement cards and catalogues related to his original Ray Johnson ABAD exhibition.
Collection Time Period
Ray Johnson and a Book About Death, was co-curated by Joan Harrison and LuAnn T. Palazzo at the SAL Gallery at LIU Post in November, 2010. The exhibit, similar in nature to Matthew Rose's 2009 exhibit, called for artists to create and submit a postcard inspired by Ray Johnson's A Book About Death. A majority of these striking post cards are handmade or hand painted. While many contributors mailed in the requested postcards, several individuals sent in works of art (such as mixed media Mail Art pieces and an artwork made out of bone).

The two exhibitions were a tribute to artist Ray Johnson and his artwork, A Book About Death. In 2011, Joan generously donated all the 2010 ABAD exhibition materials, art postcards, several artworks and archives to LIU Post's Archives and Special Collections.

Matthew Rose, artist and friend of Ray Johnson, curated the first A Book About Death exhibit at the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York City. This 2009 exhibition was inspired by Ray Johnson's own A Book About Death. Artists were asked to contribute printed postcards to create what Rose referred to as an unbound Book About Death. The exhibit inspired spontaneous ABAD exhibitions which are still happening worldwide. The postcards from this exhibit are included in the collection.

An anniversary tribute exhibit of ABAD, Curated by LuAnn T. Palazzo, will be held at the Islip Art Museum in East Islip, NY from September 14 - November 2, 2019.
Scope and Content
The archive currently includes exhibition items from the years 2009 and 2010. They range in format from artist catalogues to original works of art from two separate art exhibits inspired by Ray Johnson. Items include:
  • Postcards of artists' work
  • Handmade and Hand Printed Postcards
  • Original Bone Artpiece
  • Original Mixed Media Mail Art
  • Artists Catalogues
  • Exhibition Flyers/Programs
  • DVD's - one is a Fluxus Art Movement Performance
  • Ledger of artists that contributed to the 2010 exhibit used by Joan Harrison to organize the exhibit
  • "Call for Art" cards inviting artists to contribute to the 2010 exhibit
  • Postcards submitted to the 2010 exhibit from residents of Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation Center in Smithtown, NY
  • Newspaper Write-ups
Archives and Special Collections
B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library,
Second Floor, Rooms #345-#346
LIU Post
Long Island University
Brookville, NY 11548
User Restrictions
The collection is available for general interest and academic research in the Archives and Special Collections' Reading Room. Requests for digital images are considered on a case-by-case basis. Please call or email Jarron Jewell for an appointment: 516/299-2880.
Prepared by Jarron Jewell and Erin DeMarco, MSLIS

Joan Harrison: A Brief Biographical Sketch

Joan Harrison recently retired from her career as Professor of Art in the Art Department at LIU Post. She continues to work as an accomplished artist, photographer, and author, who specializes in photography, collage, drawing, and local history. She is the author of several books, and her art is showcased in several permanent exhibits in various museums in New York.

Finding Aid  -  Archive of Artist Ray Johnson: A Bad Archive

Coming soon....

Archive of Artist Ray Johnson

Ray Johnson and A Book about Death

Contact Information

Archives and Special Collections is located on the second floor of the LIU Post Library.
Rooms: 345-346

Heather Hesse - Special Collections Assistant
Archives and Special Collections

Hours: 9:00-5:00, Monday-Friday