TIA 2005: Art from Ephemera (Mail Art and the Internet)
Text and Image Arts
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Fall 2007 - Spring 2009
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
blog discussion experiment no. 1 - fall 08 edition
For next week, I've asked you to read John Held Jr.'s essay "The Mail Art Exhibition: Personal Worlds to Cultural Strategies" from the book At a Distance: Precursors to Art and Activism on the Internet. He writes about various "Mail Art Considerations" that were outlined by a couple of California Mail Artists in particular as a result of "the proliferation of Mail Art shows." These "considerations" included: no fee, no jury, no returns, and so on. As we discussed briefly in class yesterday, what's interesting (and perhaps problematic at times) about Mail Art are precisely these conventions that developed around a genre of cultural production that itself developed along the fringes of the more mainstream art world. When we produce our mass-printed editions of Artist Trading Cards later in the semester, we'll be breaking one of the cardinal rules of ATCs: that they be hand-made and unique. How do you reconcile the unconventional spirit of Mail Art with the various "rules" that have accumulated over the decades?