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10th Anniversary Edition of
 A Book About Death: 
The Last Waltz @Islip Art Museum


  • Islip Art Museum 50 Irish Lane East Islip, NY, 11730 United States (map)
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10th Anniversary Edition of A Book About Death: The Last Waltz / An International Mail Art Exhibition

Exhibition: September 14 - November 2

Reception: September 14 / 4-9pm

Curator's Talk: Join the Curator for Tea and Birthday Cake on Ray Johnson’s Birthday on Wednesday, October 16 / 3pm

Artists: Hundreds of International Mail Artists including Mobius Artist Jane Wang

Medium: Collage, painting, photography, and mixed media, all presented as Mail Art

Curator: LuAnn T. Palazzo

ABAD 2019 Project Website: A Book About Death

The 10 Year Anniversary Edition of A Book About Death – The Last Waltz is an international mail art project that brings artists together in the continuing exploration of the single most unifying human experience that we all share – death. This “edition” celebrates the 10 Year Anniversary of the original show in NYC and the birth of the ABAD Project.

SEE RAY JOHNSON
The show will feature a gallery full of never-before-seen art by Ray Johnson from the private collection of Ray Johnson contemporary and friend, Mark Bloch.

HEAR RAY JOHNSON
An audio recording of Ray being interviewed on WCWP Radio will accompany his original ABAD. Listen as he generally confounds the interviewer with an impromptu performance. Or was he just being Ray?

LEARN THE GLOBAL HISTORY
The main hall will provide a comphrehensive history of the ABAD Project and include information about the life and work of Ray Johnson alongside the story of Matthew Rose’s original show and its many iterations all over the world. An 11 1/2 foot timeline will trace all 29 shows, their curators and include curators' notes.

MAKE IT YOUR OWN
More than 250 original pieces in editions of 500 were created for this show. They came from 30 different countries including Sweden, Japan, Malta, Luxembourg and Turkey. Visitors are encouraged to collect one of every card from the new exhibition and take them home.

VISITORS CAN BE A PART OF THE MAIL ART MOVEMENT
Stop at the Mail Art Guestbook Station and comment on a commemorative post card. The Museum will send one to each contributing ABAD artist after the show ends.

FEATURING AN EVENING OF LIVE AND VIDEO PERFORMANCES
The reception will include live performances from Fluxus and Dada artists Honey Millmann, Nadine Bouler, Mark Bloch, Mary Campbell, Betty Esperanza, Soho poet Steve Dalachinsky, Key Makeup Designer Lilah Quinn, and Queens poet Antonia Palazzo. Videos will be screened from Photographer AnnMarie Tornabene / France, Visual Artist Karen Aleyan / Armenia, Mixed Media Artist Maggie Nightengale / UK, and Performance Artist Barbara Lubliner / USA.

WALTZ IN THE RESTORED GOLD COAST BALLROOM
Waltz music will be performed by the Long Island Baroque Ensemble, accompanied by professional ballroom dancers Phyllis Ozarin and Joel Rodriguez. Visitors will be encouraged to take a spin around the grand ballroom at the museum.

WE'RE GOING TO PARIS!
A set of this new 10th Anniversary Exhibition has already been requested by the Musée de la Poste in Paris, France for their permanent collection.

A BOOK ABOUT DEATH: A SHORT HISTORY
The first “A Book About Death” was created in the 1960s by Ray Johnson, an American artist known primarily as a conceptual artist and inventor of Correspondence Art. He was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art and was described as “New York's most famous unknown artist.” Ray Johnson’s original unbound A Book About Death was mailed to his “New York Correspondence School students” and included pages in his idiosyncratic style that were funny, sad and ironic one-page essays on death.

In January 1995, Ray Johnson launched himself from the Sag Harbor Bridge into the icy waters below and drowned — an apparent suicide. For an artist who spent his life communicating seemingly non-stop, his death left a mysterious and silent wake.

The A Book About Death project was begun as an underground global art show in September 2009 at the Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York City. It was conceived by Paris-based American artist Matthew Rose as an open, unbound book on the subject of death. Taking the name “A Book About Death” from Ray Johnson, Rose paid homage to the founder of mail art and at the same time offered artists the opportunity to explore the theme of death through postcard-sized works in editions of 500; thus creating an unbound “book.” Visitors were able to collect one of every card and take them home.

The set of cards from the first show in 2009 is in the Permanent Collections of the MoMA New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California. It included work from 486 artists, some as well known as Yoko Ono and some as obscure as Ben Brown, a 10 year old from Helena, Montana. The cards, of every kind of design imaginable, approach this universal subject from every point of view – personal, metaphysical, political, conceptual and abstract.