How to Draw a Bunny

New York artist Ray Johnson rarely exhibited his collages, was elusive even to his friends, and seems to have planned his 1995 suicide, when he was 67, as a final performance—one reason photographer Billy Name suggests that Johnson's life was his art. In this 2002 documentary John Walter tries to unravel the mystery of Johnson's life and death with engaging anecdotes that limn his eccentricities, interviewing art-world luminaries such as Christo and Roy Lichtenstein. But what he winds up with is more fascinating cocktail-party gossip than illuminating portrait. He also overemphasizes the work's pop aspects—Johnson created more abstract shapes than cute bunnies—and never explores Johnson's greatest achievement, his collages' dense mix of references and weighty gray silences. 90 min.

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