The presentation on the mezzanine of Museum Frieder Burda shows some 20 collages by the American artists Ray Johnson (1927-1995).
His breathtaking works, forerunners to pop-art, have yet to become known to a broader audience but as the founder of mail art, this important artist enjoys a reputation among experts and practitioners as a legendary outsider. After completion of his studies at the famous avant-garde Black Mountain College in North Carolina, Johnson moved to New York in 1948. Basing his work on examples of Dadaist collages, he began developing his own playful moticos, small-scale collages in which he plays out formal processes of abstraction with tender drawings, newspaper and magazine cuttings, brands and trade marks and other random elements, compressing them into scurrilous material treasures. By appropriating American mass media in the early 1950s and drawing inspiration from pop culture, his witty and vivacious art put him one step ahead of pop art heroes such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns or Robert Rauschenberg.
The works being exhibited come from the Frieder Burda Collection and the Ray Johnson Estate in New York.
This showcase exhibition is a continuation of the concept, whereby individual pieces from the Frieder Burda Collection are presented in new and different ways in the course of changing exhibitions. Hence, the mezzanine of the museum acts as a living place of observation in which visitors can experience the multi-faceted nature of the Collection.