Dear friends,

I would like to ask you about the rules and canons of Mail Art as they developed throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties. Which of the rules and canons are binding? Which ones cannot be neglected?



A Mail Art artist has published an article in which he writes about young people's ignorance of Mail Art laws, disregard for the canons and the rules. He says there should be exhibitions of artefacts received and catalogues of everything you receive in the mail, as well as an in-depth study of the history and ideology of Mail Art. I tried to argue with him in the comments, but he replied: It's not true that in Mail Art everyone is playing their own football! There are laws!



I don't have the financial means to rent exhibition space and don't have enough free time to catalogue everything I receive in the post. I would like to ask what rules and canons remain binding for us.



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The rules on this picture are often applied when a mail art exhibition is organized, the so-called mail art call. Individual mail art actions have no hard and fast rules, unless it is the rule of courtesy.

Two things:

1) Sent to me by Celestial Scribe immediately after I joined IUOMA

2) Excerpt from Rudd Janssen's book Mail Interviews I (and perhaps more importantly)--

As long as there are people-artists-living alone here and there, confronted by problems (professional, formal, human, or social. Mail Art is likely to have a role to play in helping to alleviate those problems. What we must not do is allow ourselves to take ourselves too seriously---tendentiousness is a natural health hazard for the mail artist. –Dick Higgins

That is very well said!

I think the notes by Ruud Janssen, grouped under the heading SOME THOUGHTS ON MAIL ART, are important for understanding the Mail Art. The text is divided into eighteen parts; part 1 can be found at:

Further, by leafing through the pages, you can read the whole text.

Yes, this is very good.

The unquantifiable emotional quotient.


To keep it short and simple. After 10+ years of Mail Art and IUOMA+, I don't think that there are --or need to be --any rules, certainly not binding ones.

There is Art. There is Mail. And there is Mail Art.

From the beginning of the Mail Art 'movement', that was all that was needed. And all that is needed today. And here at IUOMA.

The fewer limitations, rules, canons, etc the better, and the more creativity will be there.

As to your exhibition, just send everyone (if possible) an email thankyou and a link to any site you set up. This has worked for me in the past (including a Mail Art exhibition I organised with 1000° entries).

Good luck! Val

PS. There is Football. There is Soccer. There is Rugby Union Football (15 a side). There is Rugby League Football (13 a side). There is Rubgy Union Football (7 a side). There is Australian Rules Football. There is Beach Football. There is Indoor Football ( numbers include 5, 7 and 11 a side). There is Futsal. there is Gialball. And don't forget American Football. Or Canadian Football.

There are undoubtedly others.

Each code has its own laws.

As long as the types of football and the laws are mixed up things are OK.

So don't worry about the laws. Just get on and do your thing, encourage diversity, and see what happens.

You'll probably, and hopefully, be pleasantly surprised.

Thank you. :-) 

Thank you, Luís.

Just some thoughts.

Exhibition spaces can be everywhere. Also the free available ones. Did some exhibitions over the years but never paid for the space. Be creative too when you exhibit results. All part of the game.

Catalogues = documenting things.  How you document can be with modern tools too. Books and paper are expensive. More and more things are documented in digital ways. The paper versions aren't easy anymore in these modern times.

Thank you for your response. This exchange as well as the Facebook messenger correspondence is important to me, it is a very enriching communication.



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