[37], Having borrowed the notion of intermedia from Fluxus, mail artists are often active simultaneously in several different fields of expression. [6] In 1962, Plunkett coined the term "New York Correspondence School" to refer to Johnson's activities; Johnson adopted this moniker but sometimes intentionally misspelled it as "correspondance. Ray Johnson mail art. Once called "New York's most famous unknown artist", Johnson also staged and participated in early performance art events as the founder of a far-ranging mail art network – the New York Correspondence School. ), The Name of the Game. His preferred medium was collage, that quintessentially twentieth-century art form that reflects the increased (as the century wore on) collision of disparate visual and verbal information that bombards modern man. At a time when so much artistic work is once again focused on “social action”, on all sorts of community-oriented practices, this questioning is of the highest relevance. Johnson began making mail art in the early 1960s; he used the postal system to circumvent the confines of the traditional “insider” art world by encouraging mass participation. [38], Lettering, whether handwritten or printed, is integral to mail art. [27], By the 1990s, mail art's peak in terms of global postal activities had been reached, and mail artists, aware of increasing postal rates, were beginning the gradual migration of collective art projects towards the web and new, cheaper forms of digital communication. [citation needed] "Indeed, the mail art network counts many Fluxus members among its earliest participants. 39 likes. The artform promotes an egalitarian way of creating that frequently circumvents official art distribution and approval systems such as the art market, museums, and galleries. The manifesto concludes, "We have learned this from our own mistakes." Röder, Kornelia "H. R. Fricker, Mail Art and Social Networks," HR Fricker: Conquer the Living Rooms of the World, Kunstmuseum Thurgau, Warth, Switzerland: Edition Fink, 2014, p. 38. Media commonly used in mail art include postcards, paper, a collage of found or recycled images and objects, rubber stamps, artist-created stamps (called artistamps), and paint, but can also include music, sound art, poetry, or anything that can be put in an envelope and sent via post. Mail art has adopted and appropriated several of graphic forms already associated with the postal system. Photo: Courtesy the Ray Johnson Estate. Simultaneously fanning the flames and documenting the extent to which it was already dominated by a small, mostly male, coterie of artists, the discussions were transcribed and published by panelist John P. Jacob in his short-lived mail art zine PostHype. The art of Ray Johnson was rooted in his constant practice of correspondence. Hyper-conscious of the ambiguities of gift giving (the difficult power balance between giver and receiver, the difficult distinction between coercion and voluntary action, between ritual and spontaneity and between gift and mere exchange), Johnson exploited the corresponding ambiguities of the modern postal system – a system founded on the premise that messages always reach their destination, but whose rich mythology is shot through with the anxiety provoked by the idea of non-received, displaced, returned and refused messages. [citation needed]. While contributions may be solicited around a particular theme, work to a required size, or sent in by a deadline, mail art generally operates within a spirit of "anything goes. His presents are, in other words, full of nothing, and his non-historical present fundamentally undercut by absence: with Johnson there is never any guarantee of community, of the perfect social immanence of togetherness and understanding. 1958-1994.. [Ray Johnson; Online Archive of California. A painter associated with the New York School of painting, Johnson had started it all the mid-1950’s, slowly building up a network of correspondents who would exchange objects and messages through the postal system. Johnson's experiments with art in the mail began in 1943, while the posting of instructions and soliciting of activity from his recipients began in the mid-1950s with the mailing of his "moticos", and thus provided mail art with a blueprint for the free exchange of art via post. ‘The Name of the Game’ (11 January-9 March, 2003), curator Ina Blom. Ray Johnson began sending his mail art to circumvent the insular gatekeeping of the New York gallery scene. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz. Welch delivered the statement whereby Dr. Cohen was asked to remain on the panel but forfeit her right to serve as moderator. [1][7] Johnson's experiments with art in the mail began in 1943, while the posting of instructions and soliciting of activity from his recipients began in the mid-1950s with the mailing of his "moticos", and thus provided mail art with a blueprint for the free exchange of art via post. It is then also what makes it possible to see his artistic practice as a significant contribution to the 1960’s emphasis on situational or relational art practices, practices designed to intervene in social reality, to question existing social form or to try to form new types of collectives or to rethink collectivity tout court. Ray Johnson mail art, ca. [33] Semi-fictional organizations have been set up and virtual lands invented, imaginary countries for which artistamps are issued. Acquisition Information Collected by Rita Bottoms. Mail Art Graphic Art Neo Dada Art Event Dada Collage Visual Art Collage Art Artist Illustration Boards. While the vast majority of correspondence art or mail art activities take place in the mail, today's new forms of electronic communication blur the edges of that forum. [26], In 1994, Dutch mail artist Ruud Janssen began a series of mail-interviews which became an influential contribution in the field of mail art. Instead of remaining, Cohen chose to leave the event. Includes Biography, Selected Works, and Exhibitions. Mail artists routinely mix media; collage and photomontage are popular, affording some mail art the stylistic qualities of pop art or Dada. Bloch, Mark and Fricker, Hans Ruedi. Ray, Hofstra, Video, photos, John Cale, The Correspondance School, Ina Blom, Links, Bruce Nauman, Heckscher Museum, Joseph Cornell, Stanley Twardowicz , Andy Warhol, Death, Film, Nassau County Museum of Art, Walt Whitman, Jasper Johns, The Cranbrook Academy of Art, Picasso, Interview, Fluxus, William Wilson. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence School and the Fluxus movements of the 1960s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present. Printed matter and ephemera are often circulated among mail artists, and after artistic treatment, these common items enter into the mail art network. Participants are invited by network members to take part in collective projects or unjuried exhibitions in which entries are not selected or judged. Copy art (xerography, photocopy) is a common practice, with both mono and color copying being extensively used within the network. But it was the New York artist Ray Johnson who, in the mid 1950s, posted small collages, prints of abstract drawings and poems to art world notables giving rise to what eventually became known as the New York Correspondence School. In 1984 curator Ronny Cohen organized an exhibition for the Franklin Furnace, New York, called "Mail Art Then and Now. Mail art is widely practiced in Europe, North and South America, Russia, Australia and Japan, with smaller numbers of participants also in Africa, and China. [31] The Museum … Correspondence is "a way to convey a message or a kind of idea to someone which is not verbal; it is not a confrontation of two people. Facebook is showing information to help you better understand the purpose of a Page. [2] Small assemblages, sculptural forms or found objects of irregular shapes and sizes are parceled up or sent unwrapped to deliberately tease and test the efficiency of the postal service. In time others joined in this activity, and in the course of the 1960’s and 1970’s the network grew way beyond the immediate reach and touch of Johnson’s own mailing activities. [16], The growth of a sizable mail art community, with friendships born out of personal correspondence and, increasingly, mutual visits,[17] led in the 1980s to the organization of several festivals, meetings and conventions where networkers could meet, socialize, perform, exhibit and plan further collaborations. Assemblage of painted paper, printed paper, colored paper, and simulated animal skin, with ink and gouache on cardboard on printed paperboard. [9], Most of the Correspondance School members are fairly obscure, and the letters they sent, often featuring simple drawings or stickers, often instructed the recipient to perform some fairly simple action. 9 - From Ray Johnson - Mail Art & Ephemera - Art - 9 - From Ray Johnson - Mail Art & Ephemera - Art - Ray Johnson Estate. 1972. Always on the fringes but wildly popular amongst its practitioners, mail art continues to populate mailboxes globally. He is a Myth, an enigma. He organized meetings and assemblies (of the NYCS members), but these meetings were without content or purpose, as if mere gatherings of names on a mailing list. Nov 29, 2019. The exhibition traveled to the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (April 2-18 May, 2003), Museum Het Domein Sittard (31 May-17 August, 2003). Certain materials and techniques are commonly used and frequently favored by mail artists due to their availability, convenience, and ability to produce copies. The rubber stamp officially used for franking mail, already utilized by Dada and Fluxus artists, has been embraced by mail artists who, in addition to reusing ready-made rubber stamps, have them professionally made to their own designs. [40], "Correspondence art is an elusive art form, far more variegated by its very nature than, say, painting. 6) the power of the network is in the quality of the direct correspondence, not the quantity." Johnson reciprocates, but only through interruption. Cooperation and participation, and the celebration of art as a birthing of life, vision, and spirit are first steps. Inkjet and laserprint computer printouts are also used, both to disseminate artwork and for reproducing zines and documentation, and PDF copies of paperless periodicals and unprinted documentation are circulated by email. [23], The rise of mail art meetings and congresses during the late 80s, and the articulation of various "isms" proclaimed by their founders as movements within mail art, were in part a response to fractures made visible by the events surrounding the Franklin Furnace exhibition. Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995), was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art. Posted by Mick Boyle at 10:29 PM No comments: May 18, 2009. four eyed bunny postcard - November 26, 1977. Biography "The most famous unknown artist in New York" - this is how Grace Glueck, a New York Times reporter, characterized Ray Johnson after his collage exhibition in 1965. [34] Furthermore, attempts have been made to document and define the history of a complex and underestimated phenomenon that has spanned five decades. Because the democratic ethos of mail art is one of inclusion, both in terms of participants ('anyone who can afford the postage') and in the scope of art forms, a broad range of media are employed in creation of mail artworks. The Correspondance School was a network of individuals who were artists by virtue of their willingness to play along and appreciate Johnson's sense of humor. If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations). January 5. The ethereal networker aesthetic calls for guiding that dream through action. It has a positive dimension as well. [2] Ubiquitous 'add & pass' sheets that are designed to be circulated through the network with each artist adding and copying, chain-letter fashion, have also received some unfavorable criticism. Posted by Mick at 9:28 AM 3 comments: The Coo Coo, Poo Poo & Pee Pee Novelty Company - Sept. 2, 1977. ", Loredana Parmesani, text under the entry "Poesia visiva", in, "About John Held Jr. in the Spark episode "The Fine Art of Collecting, "Oral history interview with Ray Johnson, 1968 Apr. We invited Dr. Gosse as special guest lecturer on mail art and the work of mail art pioneer artist Ray Johnson. At every level – from the semantic techniques deployed in his writings, to his organization of visual material, to the idiosyncratic pragmatics of his mailing practice – Johnson evokes the same reality of associations promised and associations unmade, ruptured, dispersed. [7] The original contributions are not to be returned and remain the property of the organizers, but a catalogue or documentation is sent free to all the participants in exchange for their works. This American halfgod is the pet and totem animal of the whole Mail-Art Netland. Ray Johnson / Mick Boyle Mail Art Mail Art sent from Ray Johnson to Mick Boyle. A collage-based practice, his work combined photography, drawing, performance, and text across geographical distances, through mail dispatch. While illustrated envelopes have been around since ye olden days, Mail Art turned the postal system into a medium itself. - Chuck Welch[31], "The purpose of mail art, an activity shared by many artists throughout the world, is to establish an aesthetical communication between artists and common people in every corner of the globe, to divulge their work outside the structures of the art market and outside the traditional venues and institutions: a free communication in which words and signs, texts and colours act like instruments for a direct and immediate interaction." [32] Parody art movements like neoism and plagiarism have challenged notions of originality, as have the shared pseudonymous names Monty Cantsin and Karen Eliot, which were proposed for serial use by anyone. "[7], The mail art philosophy of openness and inclusion is exemplified by the "rules" included in invitations (calls) to postal projects: a mail art show has no jury, no entry fee, there is no censorship, and all works are exhibited. Integrating texts and images drawn from a multiplicity of sources — from … Directed by John W. Walter. [2] Although English has been the de facto language, because of the movement's inception in America, an increasing number of mail artists, and mail artist groups on the Internet, now communicate in Breton, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Russian. [21], The excluded works were ultimately added to the exhibition by the staff of the Franklin Furnace, but the events surrounding it and the panels revealed ideological rifts within the mail art community. Music and sound art have long been celebrated aspects of mail art, at first using cassette tape, then on CD and as sound files sent via the Internet. Mailable fake fur ("Hairmail") and Astroturf postcards were circulated in the late 1990s. But then mail art was seen as one of the new “communication arts”, a form of media aesthetics that evolved alongside video art as well as the new questioning of distribution and public access that informed much of the new performative and conceptual art practices: A collage-like work by Ray Johnson even claims to present a “history of video art”, however idiosyncratic. Pictures at an Exhibition presents images of one notable show every weekday. Ray Johnson suggested (with a pun) that "mail art has no history, only a present", and mail artists have followed his playful attitude in creating their own mythologies. He dispersed a copious amount of collages and other printed matter through the mail to friends and colleagues. Although these rules are sometimes stretched, they have generally held up for four decades, with only minor dissimilarities and adjustments, like the occasional requests to avoid works of explicit sexual nature, calls for projects with specific participants, or the recent trend to display digital documentation on blogs and websites instead of personally sending printed paper to contributors. Photography is widely used as an art form, to provide images for artistamps and rubber stamps, and within printed and digital magazines and documentation,[31] while some projects have focused on the intersection of mail art with the medium itself. A painter associated with the New York School of painting, Johnson had started it all the mid-1950’s, slowly building up a network of correspondents who would exchange objects and messages through the postal system. Mail art (also known as postal art and correspondence art) is a populist artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the postal service. - Ken Friedman[41], "Cultural exchange is a radical act. In addition to appropriating the postage stamp model, mail artists have assimilated other design formats for printed artworks. [3] Mail art shows, periodicals, and projects represent the "public" side of postal networking, a practice that has at its core the direct and private interaction between the individual participants. [35] Artist Jerry Dreva of the conceptual art group Les Petits Bonbons created a set of stamps and sent them to David Bowie who then used them as the inspiration for the cover of the single "Ashes to Ashes" released in 1980. His preferred medium was collage, that quintessentially twentieth-century art form that reflects the increased (as the century wore on) collision of disparate visual and verbal information that bombards modern man. Saul Steinberg. 8. The American artist Ray Johnson is considered to be the first mail artist. These words, written by Ray Johnson, initiator of the international mail art movement, provide a key to one of the most complex and idiosyncratic art projects of the 20th Century. 3) Create person-to-person correspondence... 4) You have your own unique energy which you can give to others through your work: visual audio, verbal, etc. A mail artist may have hundreds of correspondents from many different countries, or build a smaller core circle of favorite contacts. However, Xerography has been a key technology in the creation of many short-run periodicals and zines about mail art, and for the printed documentation that has been the traditional project culmination sent to participants. [36] Artistamps and rubber stamps, have become important staples of mail artworks, particularly in the enhancement of postcards and envelopes. [28] The Internet facilitated faster dissemination of mail art calls (invitations) and precipitated the involvement of a large number of newcomers. She has written extensively on modern and contemporary art and is also active as an art critic. 0:05. Performances recorded on film or video are communicated via DVD and movie files over the internet. Johnson was also a pioneer in the now worldwide “Mail Art” or “Correspondence Art” movement where works are literally sent through the postal service, expanding visual culture beyond the commercial sphere and promoting a system of equal exchange between artists. STUDIES IN TACTICAL MEDIA #3 >From Mail Art to Net.art: Ray Johnson and the Lives of the Saints. [14] Filliou coined the term the "Eternal Network" that has become synonymous with mail art. 17", "Ray Johnson mail art to Lucy R. Lippard, 1965 June 29", "An Authentik and Historikal Discourse On the Phenomenon of David Zack, Mail Artist", "A gleefully rebellious festival of dada", "Mail Art From 1984 Franklin Furnace Exhibition", "Ray Johnson's letter to me after the event, questioning the issue of sexism", http://www.artpool.hu/MailArt/chrono/1983/Bleus.html, http://www.utsanga.it/bleus-exploring-mail-art/, Postal Modernism: Artists' Stamps and Stamp Images, Mail Art-Archive at the Staatliches Museum Schwerin, You've Got Mail Art: Discovering John Held Jr.'s Role as Librarian and Mail Artist, Mailart & ArtByMail // open_calls & exhibitions repository, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mail_art&oldid=992487553, Articles with incomplete citations from January 2013, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2013, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from January 2013, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Ulises Carrión, "El Arte Correo y el Gran Monstruo", Tumbona ediciones, Mexico, 2013. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence School and the Fluxus movements of the 1960s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present. Artists' books, decobooks and friendship books, banknotes, stickers, tickets, artist trading cards (ATCs), badges, food packaging, diagrams and maps have all been used. [24] Even if "tourism" was proposed satirically as a new movement by H.R. [1][8], The term "mail art" was coined in the 1960s. It can create paradigms for the reverential sharing and preservation of the earth's water, soil, forests, plants and animals. Inspired by the example of Cinderella stamps and Fluxus faux-stamps, the artistamp has spawned a vibrant sub-network of artists dedicated to creating and exchanging their own stamps and stamp sheets. [22] In a letter to panelist Mark Bloch, Ray Johnson (who was not a panelist) commented on the reverse-censorship and sexism of the event. Mail art (also known as postal art and correspondence art) is a populist artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the postal service. He wanted to encourage participation amongst as many artists as possible and disseminate the auteurship of the works created. Mail art has also appropriated the postage stamp as a format for individual expression. [3][4], Mail art can be seen as anticipating the cyber communities founded on the Internet. Includes Biography, Selected Works, and Exhibitions. Some for art's sake, others to grab the attention of the people that dole out tickets in hope of better seats. "[20] The exhibition was to have an historical aspect as well as showing new mail art, and to mediate the two aspects Cohen edited the material sent to Franklin Furnace, breaking an unwritten but commonly accepted custom that all works submitted must be shown. Mail Art Shameless second plug of the Raven Row exhibition of Ray Johnson's collages and mail art work. From our current vantage, it’s not hard to acknowledge that one of the presiding spirits of early-twenty-first-century art is Ray Johnson’s. - Loredana Parmesani[42], Ray Johnson, the New York Correspondance School, and Fluxus, Philosophy and norms of the mail artist network, Media and artistic practices in the creation of mail artworks, Francesco Vincitorio, "Informalista o videoartista? The night preceding the second panel on February 24, Carlo Pittore, John P. Jacob, Chuck Welch a.k.a. "[6] The deliberate misspelling was characteristic of the playful spirit of the Correspondance School and its actions. Ray would mail small artworks, or prints of his works, to friends and strangers, sometimes requesting further actions, like sending something on to someone else. Ina Blom curated the following exhibition: 2003 The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design Oslo Cutting through this logic meant placing the production and thinking of art within the immanence of an eternal present, an uncontrollable present of events, not unlike the eternally present liveness of television – a technology and a communication medium which was just at that moment appropriated for artistic purposes. "[13], In his 1973 diagram showing the development and scope of Fluxus, George Maciunas included mail art among the activities pursued by the Fluxus artist Robert Filliou. [15] Other Fluxus artists have been involved since the early 1960s in the creation of artist's postage stamps (Robert Watts, Stamp Dispenser, 1963), postcards (Ben Vautier, The Postman's Choice, 1965: a postcard with a different address on each side) and other works connected to the postal medium. [39], Performance art has also been a prominent facet, particularly since the advent of mail art meetings and congresses. [citation needed], In spite of the many links and similarities between historical avant-garde, alternative art practices (visual poetry, copy art, artist's books) and mail art, one aspect that distinguishes the creative postal network from other artistic movements, schools or groups (including Fluxus) is the way it disregards and circumvents for the commercial art market. A page from December 1976 reads, “Silhouette University; I have drawn silhouettes of the following people, who have kindly posed for me” and then lists 93 first and last names. Ray Johnson’s Postal Performance / book edited and exhibition curated by Ina Blom (National Museum of Contemporary Art : Oslo 2003). Collagist, painter, poet, and the originator of mail art, Johnson took up the appropriative strategies of Marcel Duchamp and Jasper Johns, infused them with John Cage’s ideas about Zen and chance, and energized the mix with his own brand of deadpan Conceptualism. In a way, it was a performance of art to an audience of one. Mail art had no history, since – unlike a modernist art that seems to reside in an independent realm of ever-evolving formal development – it could be seen to place itself squarely in the realm of social exchanges, that is the realm whose entire principle of circulation and reciprocity is kept in check by the system of gifts. … [5], Artist Edward M. Plunkett has argued that communication-as-art-form is an ancient tradition; he posits (tongue in cheek) that mail art began when Cleopatra had herself delivered to Julius Caesar in a rolled-up carpet. Was proposed satirically as a birthing of life, vision, and a pioneer of mail has. 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