1. Before Miley Cyrus, there was Arthur Rimbaud.

    In November 1971, Ray Johnson printed this image of Rimbaud in Arts Magazine. On the back of the page was Johnson’s address with the instructions: “Detach Along Dotted Line. Participate by adding words, letters, colors or whatever to face. All material submitted will be documented in a future issue.” He received over a hundred responses from around the country. Some senders were obviously new correspondents, writing “Roy Johnson” or even “Rory Johnson” on the envelopes (a confusion caused by Johnson’s handwriting on the original page).

    This version was sent by Gregory Abbott. This response and many more can be found in the Ray Johnson Estate Archive. The box containing them has recently been processed and the finding aid is available on our website here.

    This template is still being used by mail artists today, as on this blog.

    Did you take part in the Rimbaud project (or do you know someone who did)?

     
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