Raymond Foye (b. 1957, Lowell, Mass) is a writer, curator, editor and publisher. Between 1974-1978 he studied at Philadelphia College of Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (film studies with Stan Brakhage), and the San Francisco Art Institute. From 1978-80 he worked as a literary editor with City Lights Books where he edited The Unknown Poe (1980), described as ” an indispensable anthology of brilliant hard-to-find writings by Poe on poetry, the imagination, humor, and the sublime which adds a new dimension to his stature as a speculative thinker and philosopher.” The anthology includes essays (in translation) by Charles Baudelaire Stéphane Mallarmé, J. K. Huysmans, Paul Valéry, & André Breton, that shed light on Poe’s relevance within European literary tradition.
While living in San Francisco Foye edited two issues (Nos 29 & 30) of Beatitude magazine, and was a contributor to the punk zine Search and Destroy (his interview with William Burroughs appeared on the cover of the final issue, No. 10). While attending the San Francisco Art Institute he promoted concerts with The Dils, The Avengers, The Mutants, and the Dead Kennedys.
His close friendship with the poet Bob Kaufman resulted in his editing Kaufman’s final book of poems in the poet’s lifetime, The Ancient Rain(New Directions, 1981). His friendship with and extensive research on the Boston poet John Wieners resulted in his editing two volumes of Wieners’ work for Black Sparrow Press, Selected Poems 1958-1984, and Cultural Affairs in Boston: Poetry and Prose 1956-1985. These works were essential in preserving Wieners’ work and reestablishing his significant reputation as an important post war poet.
In 1980 Foye moved permanently to New York City, where he first worked at Petersburg Press (London & New York) supervising fine art print projects and trade book editions with the artists Robert Motherwell, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Frank Stella, and Francesco Clemente. From 1980-1989 he edited over a dozen publications with David Hockney, including Looking at Pictures in a Book (National Gallery, London, 1981), David Hockney Photographe—Hockney’s first photography publication (and exhibition) at the Centre Pompidou in 1982, and Cameraworks (Alfred Knopf, 1984).In 1985 he traveled to India with Francesco Clemente and lived in Madras (Chennai), where they founded the small press Hanuman Books. Foye traveled extensively in India, and in Madras studied at the Theosophical Society, the Krishnamurti Foundation, and the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.
From 1985-95 Foye and Clemente edited and published fifty books in the Hanuman Books series, printing the books in India and maintaining offices in New York’s Chelsea Hotel, where Foye has lived since 1980. Hanuman Books published original titles by authors such as Cookie Mueller, Eileen Myles, Bob Flanagan, Patti Smith, Robert Creeley, Robert Frank, Jack Kerouac, and many others.
From 1985-1990 he worked on numerous independent publishing projects and exhibitions and co-authored (with Ann Percy) Francesco Clemente: Three Worlds (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1990). He was the photography curator to Allen Ginsberg, and worked extensively on publications and exhibitions with writer and curator Henry Geldzahler, whose papers he catalogued and curated for the Beinecke Library at Yale University.
From 1990-95 he worked as director of exhibitions and publications at Gagosian Gallery in New York, organizing exhibitions and catalogues with numerous artists, including Cy Twombly, Richard Serra, Jim Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Carl Andre, David Salle, Philip Taaffe, and Elyn Zimmerman. Since 1995 he has worked as an independent curator, editor and writer. His show The Heavenly Tree Grows Downward (James Cohan Gallery, New York) was the first exhibition to feature the artworks of legendary filmmaker, folklorist and occultist Harry Smith, and was named one of the ten best exhibitions of 2002 by the New York Times (Holland Cotter). He has organized exhibitions with numerous galleries worldwide, including Planthouse New York, Galerie Jablonka Berlin and Cologne, Thomas Ammann Fine Art Zurich, Studio Raffaelli Trento, and Tobias Mueller Modern Art, Zurich. His is an advisor to the estate of painter and filmmaker Jordan Belson, and organized the exhibition Jordan Belson Paintings for Matthew Marks Gallery in New York (April 30-June 29, 2019), and he is currently preparing a comprehensive monograph on Belson’s work.
Foye is the literary executor of the Estates of poets John Wieners, James Schuyler, Gregory Corso, and Rene Ricard. He recently co-edited (with Neeli Cherkovski and Tate Swindell) The Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman for City Lights Books (2019), and is preparing an edition of Gregory Corso: The Golden Dot, Poems 1980-2000 with George Scrivani, for New Directions Publications. His imprint Raymond Foye Books recently published Selected Poems by Eric Walker, and is currently preparing a comprehensive Collected Poems by Rene Ricard, and a new edition of John Wieners’ classic 1975 book Behind the State Capitol. He is presently a contributing editor to the Brooklyn Rail, and serves as an advisor to the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He is a regular contributor to Gagosian Quarterly, and in 2020 received the American Book Award for editing the Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman.