[Ray "Sugar Dada"] Johnson initiated a practice called
involved sending an incomplete or unfinished artwork to another artist, critic,
or even a stranger, who, in turn, helped to complete the work by making some
additions and then sending it on to another participant in the network.
These gift exchanges, begun in 1955, evolved into more elaborate networks of
hundreds of participants, but at first they included a relatively small circle
of participants. Johnson would often involve famous artists, like Andy
Warhol, as well as influential literary and art critics in these on-sendings.
In a variation on this process, each participant was asked to send the work back
to Johnson after adding to the image. Much of Johnson’s mail art and on-sendings
consisted of small, trivial objects not quite profound enough for art critics to
consider them ‘found objects.’ These on-sendings were part of the stuff
previously excluded from art galleries. Johnson’s gift giving resembled
the lettrists’ earlier use of a type of potlatch (which was the name of one of
their journals), Fluxus Yam Festivals, and the work of intimate bureaucracies in
general. The gift exchanges soon led Johnson to explore the fan’s logic in
more depth. (31)
Saper, "A Fan’s Paranoid Logic,"