May Wilson


May Wilson (1905 – October 19, 1986) was an American artist and figure in the 1960s to 1990s New York City avant-garde art world. A pioneer of the feminist and mail art movement, she is best known for her Surrealist junk assemblages and her "Ridiculous Portrait" photocollages.

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Originally from Baltimore, Wilson spent the first part of her life as a suburban housewife. At 42, she committed herself to becoming an artist, enrolling in correspondence classes in fine art and art history. She produced paintings during this period, reflecting the Modernist influence of Cezanne and his followers. In 1956 the artist’s son, author and critic William S. Wilson, introduced his mother to the artist Ray Johnson (1927-1995). The exchange between the two help Wilson to develop her practice further into collage and assemblage works. In 1966, after the end of her marriage she moved to New York City to reside in the Chelsea Hotel. Her work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum, The Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.


Artist, assemblage artist, collagist, painter, sculptor

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May Wilson

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed July 4, 2024.