Sunday, March 18, 2012


 I recently came across a postcard I had created more than twenty years ago as part of my then ongoing involvement with Correspondence Art,  an international group of artists,  poets,  and musicians that  happily bypassed the commercial gallery system in favor of a more egalitarian approach to being seen,  read,  and heard. The international postal system was our forum.  I'm sure all of us were attracted by Mail Art's inclusiveness,  lack of censorship,  and collaborative spirit.  The inexpensive media and small scale were also nice considerations.  Xerography,  rubber stamps,  and collage made frequent appearances in this work,  often in the same sending.  The above work uses all those techniques,  but adds painting to the mix as well.  The origins of Mail Art can be easily traced back to movements like dada,  Fluxus,  Cubism,  and Pop Art,  all of which served as springboards for the use of ignoble materials and the avant garde.  New York (and later,  Long Island) artist Ray Johnson (1927-1995) is considered by many to be Mail Art's founding father,  who continued to mythologize himself up to his suicide in the mid-nineties.  His death is widely thought to be his final artwork, as numerical evidence suggests a well thought-out performance/suicide.  Personally,  I enjoyed the immediacy of creating imagery and sending it out into the world or as Ray Johnson said,  "Mail Art has no history,  only a present".

And at 19 cents a sending,  it was quite the bargain! Today,  digital media is omni-present and has helped Mail Art to evolve and flourish,  but at what price?  

No comments:

Post a Comment