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A collection of small artists' books
dedicated to experimental, concrete and visual poetry,
or any work combining text and visual arts
in the spirit of dadaism or fluxus.

"We'll Chop His Suey When He's Gone"
Homage to Ray Johnson

A6 format (10.5x15 cm / 4 x 6") - 40 pages - september 2008
hardcover, thread and quarter cloth binding
laser printing on ivory paper.
price: 15 euro / 20 US $ / 13 UK Sterling / 25 Australian $

order your copy by email
or subscribe to the collection
and receive each book with invoice.
No postage charged.

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John Held, Jr., author of "Mail Art: an Annotated Bibliography" (Scarecrow Press, 1991), has been
active in alternative arts since the mid-1970s. He has lectured in such diverse venues as the Palace
of Fine Arts (Havana, Cuba), Victoria and Albert Museum (London, England), and National Museum
of Communications (Berlin, Germany). His Papers are in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian, Washington, D. C.

Mike Dickau is a multi-talented painter, ceramicist, photographer, and graphic artist, who has been
active in Mail Art since the mid-1980s. Having studied with noted San Francisco Bay Area Funk
artists Robert Arneson and David Gilhooly, Dickau has continued to raise California Pop Surrealism to
new levels of graphic complexity. His most recent exhibition was curated by Vittore Baroni.

Held (San Francisco, CA) and Dickau (Sacramento, CA) have collaborated on several graphic projects
besides "Who'll Chop My Suey", including, "Back to the Russian Futurists," "My Spiritual Life," "Japanese
Pop," and "Seven Deadly Sins" (published in the book "Axis of Evil"). Exhibitions of their work have been
held at the Mayakovsky State Museum (Moscow, Russia), Kulture Centre Buez (Minden, Germany),
Academy of Fine Arts (Sint-Niklaas, Belgium), Temporary Art Centre (Eindhoven, The Netherlands),
Atelier Berner (Paris, France), and Haricom Gallery (Jeju, South Korea), as well as various venues
throughout their home state of California.

Ray Johnson (USA, 1926-1995) attended Black Mountain College, a legendary American breeding
ground for post-modernism, with John Cage, Robert Rauchenberg and Cy Twombly, receiving
instruction from Bauhaus emigre Joseph Albers, in the late 1940s. In the mid 1950s, Johnson began
an extensive use of the postal system, constructing a network of artists, friends and celebrities,
circumventing the gallery system by sharing art directly with correspondents, encouraging them to
participate with himself and others, either known or unknown.

In 1962, his activities were given the name, "The New York Correspondence School," and
throughout the decade Johnson's circle expanded, aided by the admiration of friends in the emerging
Fluxus movement, who were themselves using the postal system in creative fashion. In 1970, Johnson
curated the first large Mail Art exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which
consisted of all work shown as a result of Johnson's mailed invitation to exhibit. Treated as a curiosity by
critics, Johnson's open artistic approach helped stimulate a continuing underground explosion of
international postal creativity and cooperation.

John Held, Jr. began writing to Ray Johnson in 1976, conducted a videotape interview with him the
following year, visited the reclusive artist in his Locust Valley, New York, home and continued corresponding
with him until his death by drowning in 1995. Since his passing, Johnson, written of as "the most famous
unknown artist in New York" during his lifetime, has received posthumous acclaim.

The title of the present work derives from a phrase Johnson used ("Who'll Chop Your Suey When I'm
Gone") to describe the collage process. The images included in the present text were gathered and
collaged by Held from the sizable library of Johnson iconography; then scanned, colorized and modified
by Dickau. Johnson is well known for his bunny head portraits, but also made extensive use of snakes,
knives, bricks and lettering as on-going graphic elements. This homage to Johnson first appeared as
a series of prints and later as stamp sheets distributed throughout the Mail Art network.

Francis Van Maele
Dugort, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland