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Lorna Blaine Halper (Recipient), Ray Johnson (Primary), Josef Albers (Mentioned), Ruth Asawa (Mentioned), (Mentioned)

Letter from Ray Johnson to Lorna Halper, postmark March 7, 1947

20th century
Medium & Support
Ink on paper
Sheet: 10 15/16 x 8 3/8 in.
Object Type
Credit Line
Black Mountain College Collection, gift of the Black Mountain College Project and Lorna Blaine Halper
Accession Number

Ray Johnson, "Letter from Ray Johnson to Lorna Halper, postmark March 7, 1947". 1947. Ink on paper. Hand written letter in black ink done in cursive. "wednesday evening / Dear Lorna, It is after dinner and I borrowed this / pen from the store and I sit at a / table again writing to you. The chorus / begins in a while and I am going to / sing Kyrie Eleisen. I was reading T. / Wolfe's you can't Go Home again before / dinner. I like him very much and / his love, Esther Jack. She reminded / me very much of Mary Callery, although / Mary is much more something than / Esther Jack. Pepe wants to read a play / after chorus in the quiet house with / candles, etc. We visited there yesterday / and fantasyed how we would furnish / the driveway if we were to live there. / Pepe visioned chinese screens, lawn / tables, and a simple cot; while I / thought that a sleeping bag in front / of the fire place would be enough / for me and everything else would be / on the floor. What a wonderful studio / it would make. Just the right size. I / think I could paint wonderful things / there. I am thinking of making frames / for paintings. It will be working / with wood. I want to experiment with / many materials. Remember Albers and his / sand-blasting paintings. Ever see any / KURT SCHWITTERS paintings or constructions? / He was a post-war German DADA artist / who raided the junk heaps and put / together wonderful textured things and / created from all the mess that was / post-war Germany. / I wish you were here tonight Lorna / because in this frantic maddness I now / feel surging through me as I write I / loved say many things that might interest / you." Off to the side (left center edge), "I would / like to find / Yolante's / grave and / make something / for it - for / him the / great man."  

Verso: "my color is changing in my paintings. Pastels / instead of pure colors - and both. Brutal / and kind. I liked what you said in one of your / letters about jumping between polarities. I always / remember Albers saying - we work in mud in / the day and emerge in perfume in the / evening. I hope the show in Minneapolis is / not to painful for you - but I guess it / shouldn't since it will be creation. White / walls and paintings. One of the most / impressive galleries I ever visited was / Alfred Steiglitz. Alfred [unsure*] was / showing and the simple abstractions on / simple white walls was truly exciting. / [Max] Dehn's Philosophy class is exciting. Last / night after philosophy class, Asawa, / Vera and I hiked up to the snow covered / pasture at midnight and we thought of / you as we passed BLAINE'S DAM. It was / sad when we found a little rock with / a red arrow painting upward being / eroded by the wind and rain. The / moonlit pasture in white crusty snow was / unbelievable. We stumbled and fell / and slipped but when to the top a / panarama of ice black white mountains / was there. We felt very small up there. / We all prayed at a white field of / snow that Paul will get well, since / he is at Moore General with some / strange sickness caused by blood / cells. / Love RAY" 

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