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Fi's #2: what're we callin' "mail art"?

I'm interested, in posting this one, to get a bit of feedback re. what're we callin' "mail art"? I'm not sayin' that this combo is devastatingly witty or anything, but here it's the combination of a commercial postcard w/ what's written on the other side that makes it (or doesn't make it?) mail art. I'm sending this to a friend who's having weight-loss surgery:

7 comments:

Counts in my book! I'll be interested to hear what the experts say.


Damned if I know what makes something mailart but I always enjoy images with unexpected text.

I've been reluctant to call my postcards "mailart" and just call them "handmade." I'm going to be learning about mailart as the year goes on and then maybe attempt to figure out "fluxus."


Is there such thing as a mailart expert? Surely we have the beginners and then people who have done it for waaaaay too long! I would hate for there to exist experts, else there would be those amongst us whose work has less value.

For me, mailart is the most inclusive art form going. Anyone can do it and even amongst this group there are all sorts of people proving that point. But if anyone can do it then what makes it art? Isn't art something that hangs up in a gallery?

In my opinion, as outlined in my recent mailart talks at the university I work at (I am NOT an art lecturer - far from it I work in e-learning) I said that art in my opinion is the act of adding some value to something by adding a bit of effort to it.

It's that question of value that is divisive, as that is the subjective part of art. One mans rubbish is another mans treasure right? But when we make art we strive to make that piece more beautiful, or more valuable in our eyes and hope that that value resonates with someone else. That's why we send it or exhibit it isn't it?

In my opinion, this work works because initially it had little value to me. On reading the words, which you added, I smiled and that added value to my life. The fact that the piece resonated with me makes it a successful artwork socially, but the fact it made you smile makes it a good piece of art to you.

Is it good mailart? On reflection yes, as it goes in the post and is art.


I have no claim to expertise here, but it seems to me the important word in the phrase "mail art" is not "art" but "mail": the fact that we create a piece in an intimate one-on-one sort of way way, address it to another person, then give it over to the postal system to deliver that person--that act of addressing and giving over, is what makes it special, right?

Because the best definitions of "art" are always tautological anyway: "Art is an act of beauty." "Art is something done with aesthetic intent."

Because the medium in "mail art" is not what's important--it's the intent and the method of delivery. We don't say "mail collage" or "mail drawing" or "mail painting," we say "mail art."

And all the senses are open to us--not just the visual. I can imagine situations where a tape recording of music would be mail art, where a video of a dance would be mail art, where a hand-crafted perfume would be mail art. And I'm getting increasingly sure here, of letters being mail art--sure that creations that are purely verbal & not visual, are mail art.

I have a reason for wanting to be sure of that, as I embark on this 365 journey with the rest of you, which is that I'm primarly a writer, in my background so far. The visual arts are a new & uncharted (exciting!) terrain for me. And so a significant percentage--I have no idea how large--of my 365 missives will be letters.

Anyway....you know writers...they do blather on... =laugh=


Not interested in hearing from any "self proclaimed experts"

there is no expert in any field....

art is a process & anything I make is art & if i put it in the mail it becomes "Mail Art"

Nuff said


PostMuse,
Help me understand fluxus. What is it? Do I need some new equipment? I LOVE new equipment. Always curious, McFloozy (aka Sue, aka Box652)
:-)


All right. Strikethrough 'the experts'. Overwrite with 'those with more experience', or simply 'you'.
:-)


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