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How to Draw a Bunny (2002)

Joseph Ialacci , Richard Feigen , John W. Walter  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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How to Draw a Bunny + Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present + Art: 21 - Art in the Twenty-First Century, Season Six
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Ialacci, Richard Feigen, Frances Beatty, Mort Janklow, Janet Giffra
  • Directors: John W. Walter
  • Producers: Frances Beatty, Andrew L. Moore, John Malkovich, Kevin J. Foxe, Lianne Halfon
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0004Z31M0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,018 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "How to Draw a Bunny" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

How To Draw A Bunny explores the fascinating often hilarious and always enigmatic world of artist and underground icon Ray Johnson. A "Pop Art mystery movie" the film is framed by Johnson's mysterious suicide on Friday January 13 1995 the puzzling circumstances of which left both his intimate admirers and the general public wondering if this was a final "performance." Little has been written about him yet the man who many have dubbed "the most famous unknown artist" was considered a genius whose career spanned nearly fifty years and whose collages have been exhibited in major museums around the world.System Requirements: Running Time 90 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DOCUMENTARIES/MISC. Rating: NR UPC: 660200309725 Manufacturer No: PALMDV3097

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Johnson's Last Big Riddle November 11, 2004
On Friday, January 13th, 1995, Ray Johnson checked into a Sag Harbor hotel, drove to the 7-11, then walked to the Sag Harbor Bridge, where he jumped to his death. This action, like most of his life, was foreshadowed by a number of clues, numerical coincidences and puns. When police entered his house, they found, among his belongings, a complex suicide note presented as a box full of small, beautiful collages. When they started investigating, the stories told by people who knew him each seemed to describe a different individual. This film is a quest to discover more about the mystery that was Ray.

I saw this film at Film Forum in NYC and it's criminal that it didn't receive wider distribution. Ray Johnson lived his life as a performance piece, improvising puns and jokes into everything he did. His artworks are complex zen riddles with punchlines, with collaged paper sanded like round rocks, all put together with elmer's glue. He was the eternal prankster, and the wonderful interviews relate many "Ray stories" from the likes of his art dealer, patrons and fellow artists (including Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Chuck Close, and Christo). Far from being someone who tried to become famous, he worked to avoid it, shunning publicity and pranking the art world, and mailing his work out for free to people around the world. I was one of those people.

The film is brilliantly assembled, hilarious at times, and absorbing... and the Max Roach score is a great bonus (complete with some footage of Max playing the drums). If you are interested in art and love a good story, this film is for you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life (and Death?) As Art December 23, 2005
A fascinating look inside the New York art scene and the predecessor class to Warhol. I confess that I knew absolutely nothing about this artist before watching this documentary, and yet I couldn't get enough of it. Truly a man who lived his life as art. And his death? That's the central guessing game of this film, and it makes for a captivating and vaguely haunting biopic.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Documentary about an Underappreciated Artist November 7, 2005
The subject of this film is a lesser-known artist Ray Johnson, who was an extremely private person. While he knew everyone in the New York pop art scene, no one knew him very well at all.

Moreover, in the documentary, at least, he seldom seems to sell a work of art, yet all he does is create art. He became a constant presence in the New York art scene from the early 1950's till his suicide in 1995. He is credited with creating the first happenings when he displayed his collages on a city street. He began to concentrate on creating elaborate collages.

He is so shy about his art that even as his friends, maybe all his friends, get shows at well-known galleries and even at the Museum of Modern Art, he never allows MOMA's curators to judge whether to admit his works to the museum's collection. Instead, he mails his art to many friends, collectors and MOMA's library. The library, as is its custom, duly catalogs and keeps the mailed art. In that way, he gets in the back door of the museum.

So when his friend Chuck Close wants a piece by Ray exhibited in Close's own exhibit at the museum, the MOMA library shows the "mail art" that Ray sent.

His address book is a Who's Who of modern art: Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol. All these artists knew and respected Ray Johnson and his work.

His house was a living space unfurnished except for shelves and shelves of his art works: small collages which he called moticos, drawings and paintings.

The film does not solve the puzzle of Ray Johnson, but it certainly presents what anyone knows of this oddly private artist. In fact, he was known as "the most famous unknown artist in the world."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Art Doc Ever October 16, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the best documentary on an artists I have ever seen, period. I had never heard of Ray Johnson before I watched this for the first time. Since then I have become a huge fan of the artists who died in 1993. I have watched this doc probably five times since i bought it and everytime I fing something new and great in it.

The interviews are great, especially the ones with Warhol Factory Photographer Billy Name. And the Footage of the artist is haunting, and full of drama and ambiguity. The work and ideas of the artits are fantastic and because of this documentary I have taken a huge interest in this him, but come to find that all books published on the artist are out of print, hard to find, and expensive!!! So for any Ray Johnson fans this is a staple, must have in your personal collection!!!

Ray Johnson is the most underrated artists of the last half of the twentieth century!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars poignant and moving December 9, 2008
Poignant and moving, with a fantastic soundtrack that keeps driving the plot forward. Glad I saw this film. Ranks up there with "Here Is Always Somewhere Else: The disappearance of Bas Jan Ader" and "In the Realms of the Unreal - The Mystery of Henry Darger." One of my favorite documentaries about art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forever an Enigma October 29, 2008
This is an fascinating documentary that I have watched countless times. It is a very entertaining attempt to portray the art and life of the singular collage artist, Ray Johnson. I describe this film as an "attempt" because no one really knew what made Ray Johnson tick. He was one elusive individual. To this day, no one knows what drove him, what inspired the incredibly quirky way his ran his life and art career or the motivation for his suicide by drowning in New York's Sag Harbor at the age of 67.

As a native New Yorker, I could not help but be nostalgic watching this documentary because it shows how artists in the 60s could comfortably live below poverty level, producing their art, commiserating with other artists in their community while enjoying New York City rents of well under a $100 a month! Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting movie about an artist that no one really knew. I liked the parts about how weird his art was that was very enjoyable.
Published 2 months ago by Hilgeebaby!
5.0 out of 5 stars Ray Johnson
One of the most underrated artists of the 20th century and probably one of the most mysterious artists to have walked this earth. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Genghis Green
5.0 out of 5 stars New York School of Correspondence is still alive in DVD
Ray Johnson committS suicide every year as an artist. Anyone who participated and received his work over the years through the mail knows the truth. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Burton Dale
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop what you are doing and buy this now.
Granted I'm biased, but buy this film now. This documentary changed my life. I knew nothing about Ray Johnson before seeing this doc and now almost not a day goes by that I don't... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Perry
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film About a Fascinating Subject
Strange, private and idiosyncratic artist Ray Johnson is quite the mystery. While Johnson appears to be somewhere near the center of New York's downtown art movement in the 1950s... Read more
Published on February 9, 2011 by Natalie Cladt
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn
Henry Darger. That is the name that hovers behind this 2002 documentary film, How To Draw A Bunny, by John Walter, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film... Read more
Published on September 11, 2008 by Cosmoetica
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is an interesting documentary on a fascinating subject, but I nearly had to stop watching several times because the music/drums on the soundtrack are completely irritating. Read more
Published on October 31, 2007 by E. Spivey
4.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of a fascinating enigma
More than one person interviewed in this fascinating documentary states that no one really knew Ray Johnson. The film certainly does nothing to dispel that notion. Read more
Published on September 4, 2007 by Robert Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Draw a Bunny
This movie is just the thing that fits inside you and never goes away. I first heard of this movie at the Museum of Fine Arts. Read more
Published on June 25, 2007 by Jeanne Lafferty
4.0 out of 5 stars Was his death a performance piece?
Ray Johnson was born in Detroit in 1927 and as an only child he was always focused on art and drawing. Rather than attend regular school, he attend Cass Tech and studied art. Read more
Published on March 30, 2007 by Craig Matteson
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