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Untitled (Double Silhouette)

A work made of brush and black wash, with touches of incising, opaque watercolor, and graphite, and collage of various cut and pasted papers on board.

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  • A work made of brush and black wash, with touches of incising, opaque watercolor, and graphite, and collage of various cut and pasted papers on board.

Date:

1993

Artist:

Ray Johnson
American, 1927-1995

About this artwork

This collage, a portrait of sorts, is grounded by two superimposed silhouettes belonging to Bill Wilson and May Wilson. Ray Johnson met Bill in 1956 and began corresponding with him and his mother, May, later that year. Bill would soon become Johnson’s foremost critic and collector, as well as the artist’s self-appointed archivist, eventually amassing the largest collection of Johnson’s works, including Untitled (Silhouette). Over the next thirty years, Johnson maintained close ties with Bill and with May, an artist herself. Here, their profiles appear fused and engulfed by Johnson’s cache of recurring motifs, including snakes, bunny heads, and the handwritten name of the poet Marianne Moore. Near the top of the image, Johnson also incorporated his own photographic likeness—upside down, repeated, and enclosed in perforated squares that suggest postage stamps. Though he engaged it obliquely, portraiture was a natural extension of Johnson’s interest in people and a means of weaving an interconnected web of intimate relationships.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Ray Johnson

Title

Untitled (Double Silhouette)

Place

United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

1993

Medium

Brush and black wash, with touches of incising, opaque watercolor, and graphite, and collage of various cut and pasted papers on board

Dimensions

33.5 × 30.3 cm (13 1/4 × 11 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

Promised gift of The William S. Wilson Collection of Ray Johnson

Reference Number

Obj: 248675

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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