Shop > Artists' Books


Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake

Ray Johnson
Siglio Press
Artists' Books
27.5 × 22 × 1.5 cm
48 pages

Artist book. Hardcover with full colour dustjacket, full colour illustrations, English text.

Long out of print and unavailable to wider audiences, The Paper Snake is an essential work in Ray Johnson’s oeuvre and the second title published by Dick Higgins’ Something Else Press, in 1965. Johnson describes the book as “all my writings, rubbings, plays, things that I had mailed to [Higgins] or brought to him in cardboard boxes or shoved under his door, or left in his sink, or whatever, over a period of years.” A vertiginous, mind-bending artist’s book, The Paper Snake was far ahead of its time. In his essay “The Hatching of the Paper Snake,” Higgins says: “I was fascinated by the way that the small works which Ray Johnson used to send through the mail seemed so rooted in their moment and their context and yet somehow they seemed to acquire new and larger meaning as time went along … Since a book is a more permanent body than a mailing piece or even than our own physical ones, I could not help wondering what it would be like to make a new body for Johnson’s ideas as a sort of love letter or time capsule for the future.” A collection of letters, little plays, tid-bits, collages and drawings, The Paper Snake connects disparate elements to unbed fixed relationships and forge new systems of meaning by means of scissors, paste and the American postal system.

  1. Ray Johnson: The Paper Snake

Related Items

  1. Clive Phillpot: Ray Johnson on Flop Art: Fragments of Conversations with Ray Johnson 1988 - 1994
  2. Ray Johnson’s Mother’s Potato Masher leaflet
  3. Doniella Davy: Z-Girl and the Snake Charmer
  4. Paul McCarthy: Rebel Dabble Babble
  5. Faye Coral Johnson: Humm. Buzz. Drone.
  6. Ariel Dill and Denise Schatz: Book of Books
  7. Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari: Toilet Paper: Diamond Collection
  8. Paper Airplanes: The Collections of Harry Smith, Volume I
  9. Christof Migone: The Rise and Fall of the Sounds and Silences from Mars
  10. Rick Myers: Paper Poems
  11. Julien NĂ©dĂ©lec: To Title
  12. Robert Seydel: A Picture is Always a Book
  13. JoĂ«lle Tuerlinckx: Wor(l)(d)(k) in Progress?
  14. Paul Dutton: The Plastic Typewriter
  15. Kristen Mueller: Language to Cover a Page
  16. Lise Melhorn-Boe: Big Black Bag
  17. Michael McCormack: Busy Signals
  18. Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989
  19. Making Art Global, Part 1

The Third Havana Biennial 1989
  20. Judith Geher: Belle Coiffure
  21. Eric Doeringer: The Rematerialization Of The Art Object
  22. Kenzine Volume II
  23. Arvo Leo: Emperors of Ice Cream
  24. Felix Kalmenson: Daily Paper
  25. Cabin Time: Green River
  26. Rick Myers: Bite Marks in Paper
  27. From Decision to Heresy by François Laruelle
  28. Cabin Time: Wilderness
  29. hpht*paper °1
  30. Tim Lahan: Olympic Fencing
  31. REVOLUTION: a reader
  32. Dominic Nurre: Untitled
  33. Sun Ra: In a Qu*A*re Time and Place
  34. Daryl Vocat: Pact For Adventure