Mimi Johnson

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Mimi Johnson (1946, Galesburg, Illinois) is founder and director of two renowned and long-lived cultural service organisations, Performing Artservices (1972) and Lovely Music (1978). She was married to composer Robert Ashley and continues to produce his work.

After receiving her BA in English Literature from The Colorado College in 1968 Johnson spent three formative years in Paris working as an intern/apprentice in at the Alexandre Iolas Gallery, as a tour assistant/interpreter for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1970) and co-founding (with Bénédicte Pesle and Monsa Norberg) Artservice International, the international management and administration organization which was the model upon which Performing Artservices, Inc. is based.

In 1972, back in New York, Johnson co-founded Performing Artservices, Inc. (with Jane Yockel and Margaret Wood), a not-for-profit “cluster” management, administration and production organization dedicated to assisting American avant-garde artists working in the fields of music, dance and theater. Artservices assisted many of the leading figures of the era—among them Richard Foreman, Grand Union, Philip Glass Ensemble, Sonic Arts Union (Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Alvin Lucier, and Gordon Mumma), Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Mabou Mines, and Joseph Chaikin. She was John Cage’s manager from 1971 to his death in 1992. She has served as the Ontological-Hysteric Theater’s administrative director since 1972. And she has produced and toured all of Robert Ashley’s operas, from Perfect Lives (1978-81) through Crash (2013-15) and Quicksand (2011-16).

In 1978 Johnson founded Lovely Music, Ltd. a small recording company dedicated to releasing work by living composers working in the contemporary avant-garde. Lovely Music has released over 100 titles on LP, CD, cassette, videotape and DVD. Functioning under the management umbrella of Performing Artservices, Inc., Johnson is responsible for all aspects of Lovely Music’s operations, from the selection of repertory, to production, to sales and press relations. Johnson is also the administrator of Robert Ashley’s publishing.

Throughout her career she performed from time to time with Robert Ashley (Are Babies Afraid of Short Sounds?, Automatic Writing, What She Thinks), Richard Foreman (Pain(T)), and John Cage (Radio Music, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet).

Johnson serves on the board of directors of Roulette Intermedium, Object Collection, the Destina Foundation, and the Dorothea Tanning Foundation. [1]

Her aunt was the artist Dorothea Tanning.