Ray Johnson Defies Categories 20 Years After His Death
January 8, 2015
THE NEW YORK TIMES
by Randy Kennedy
Twenty years ago next week, the artist Ray Johnson jumped off a low bridge in Sag Harbor, N.Y., and backstroked placidly out to sea. Two teenage girls saw him plunge into the frigid water and tried to alert the police, but when they found the station closed they went to see a movie instead, a detail many of Mr. Johnson’s friends said would have delighted him.
New York in late January is a veritable marathon of Old Masters, from the big auctions at Christie's and Sotheby’s to smaller dealer shows. Especially notable is the exhibition of 22 late-15th-century panel paintings from Northern Europe and especially Germany -- made outside of the better-known centers in Italy and the Netherlands -- presented at Richard L. Feigen & Co. on East 69th Street by Sam Fogg, a leading London dealer of medieval manuscripts.
The British painter Richard Wilson (around 1713-82) is considered the father of British landscape painting in his homeland, but he is little known in the United States. The 11 paintings (some from museums) in this exhibition may change that. The best of them are put together with a striking awareness of paint and its ability to create space, light and matter without denying its own plasticity. It is a quality that always makes a painting feel new and alive, whatever its age.