Ask Anything

There are a lot of basic questions on Mail Art that are often asked and answered. This group might be the first place to look for answers. I will do my best to answer, but hope that other members can help out as well.

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What is the best way to share . . .

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What is the etiquette re altering other people's art pieces?

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Comment by Rain Rien Nevermind on November 22, 2010 at 4:42pm
Whatever happened to Edwin Golickoff ?
Excuse me I have a cough,... Whatever happened to Ed Weird go Lick Off ? Asking is FUN da MENTAL to MAIL ART.
Comment by Ruud Janssen on November 22, 2010 at 7:22am
The New York Times

October 31, 1998

Dick Higgins, 60, Innovator in the 1960s Avant Garde

By Roberta Smith

Dick Higgins, a writer, poet, artist, composer and publisher who was a seminal figure in Happenings and the concrete poetry movement and a co founder of the anti authoritarian Fluxus movement in the early 1960s, died on Sunday while visiting Quebec City. He was 60 and lived in New York City and in Barrytown, N.Y.

The cause of death was a heart attack, his family said. He was staying at a private home in Quebec City while attending a colloquium on "Art Action, 1958 1998" at a performance space named Le Lieu.

Higgins, who invented the term "intermedia," had a long list of achievements, most of which he enumerated in a carefully maintained curriculum vitae that ran to 47
pages. Its table of contents listed such headings as Visual Art, Movies and Videotapes, Music and Sound Art and "Selected Discussions of Dick Higgins," one category of which was "articles, or interesting reviews."

The bibliography reflected a polymorphic involvement with language, literature and books. It included books of theoretical essays, plays, poems, word scores, musical scores, graphic music notions and performance piece instructions.

Titles could be strange: "foew&ombwhnw," a 1969 book of essays, is an acronym for "freaked out electronic wizard and other marvelous bartenders who have no wings."

This volume was a characteristic combination of the traditional and the iconoclastic: while its pages featured columns of word scores, visual poetry and essays that ran vertically from spread to spread, the volume was bound like a prayer book, in leather, with a ribbon bookmark.

Most of Higgins' books were published by companies that he founded, funded and ran himself, the best known being Something Else Press. During its brief life span (1964 1975) it published books and pamphlets by avant garde writers and artists of several generations, including Gertrude Stein, Richard Hulsenbeck, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Emmett Williams, Claes Oldenburg, the Futurist painter Luigi Russolo and the 17th century poet George Herbert, whose pattern poems
Higgins considered a precedent for concrete poetry.

As his books were extremely well made and Higgins was prone to order reprintings on the slightest excuse, many Something Else titles are still in print.

Higgins was born in 1938 in Cambridge, England, the son of a wealthy family that owned Wooster Press Steel in Wooster, Mass. He was educated at several New England boarding schools, attended Yale University and received a bachelor's degree in English from Columbia University in 1960.

He also studied at the Manhattan School of Printing, attended John Cage's influential course on music composition at the New School and studied with the avant garde composer Henry Cowell.

By the late 1950s, Higgins was working for a book manufacturer while immersing himself in the flourishing New York art scene, where the increasing dissolution of boundaries between traditional art media fit his sensibility. He was interested in anything that was new and within a short time seemed to know nearly everyone moving in that direction.

With Allan Kaprow and others he planned and performed in the first Happenings. With George Macunius, he established the loosely knit group known as Fluxus, which accepted any activity as art and played fast and loose with definitions.

Thus Higgins' musical composition "Dangerous Music No. 17" of 1963 consisted of Higgins' wife, the poet Alison Knowles, shaving his head. "Dangerous Music No. 2," which Higgins had performed on Sunday at the colloquium in Quebec City, involved screaming as loudly as possible for as long as possible.

In 1966, Higgins' essay "Intermedia" published in the first issue of the Something Else Newsletter drew on his experiences with Happenings, Fluxus, concrete poetry and performance art. It formulated the concept of works of art that combined different forms film and dance, painting and sculpture that are today often referred to as multimedia installation art.

In addition to Ms. Knowles, whom he married in 1960, divorced in 1970 and remarried in 1984, Higgins is survived by their twin daughters, Hannah, of Chicago and Jessica, of New York; a sister, Lisa Null of Washington; a granddaughter, and his stepfather, Nicholas Doman of New York.
Comment by Rain Rien Nevermind on November 21, 2010 at 7:44pm
What ever happened to Dick Higgins
I'll ask again... What ever happened to Dick Higgins, again ?
Asking isn't near as FUN as FUN Da Mental Mail Art.
Comment by DKULT on November 21, 2010 at 5:40pm
Thanks Ruud. I've never seen a call for this until I looked up an exhibition. I'm intrigued by this as I'm always making altered boxes-mini Pandora's
Comment by Ruud Janssen on November 21, 2010 at 5:36pm
Answer comes from Hannah Higging, daughter of Dick Higgins and Allison Knowles. Met Hannah and Allison last April this year.
Comment by Ruud Janssen on November 21, 2010 at 5:35pm
It resists definition; we both know that. But can we come up with a short way of defining it?

I would say that Fluxus is justifiably defined in very different ways, depending on when, where, and how people learn about it. That would be one non-answer--the Flux answer. Most Fluxus artists all over the world were doing Fluxus-like work before there was something called Fluxus. So if you were in Denmark, you learned this through Eric Andersen and his experience of Bewogen Beweging, or "Moving Movement," which was an historic kinetic art show from the 1960s. If you were in Germany, you found it among the students of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the Darmstadt circle--who were talking about serialism and experimental musical structure in a way that a student of Cage never would. If you're talking to one of the Japanese Fluxus artists, there's a good chance they met at the University of Tokyo, and had some relationship to Group Ongaku, which was another experimental musical group. Most of these scenes had some connection to music: some of the artists were training to be involved in music professionally, although most of them were actually discovering music as an "other"--a structure or practice distinct from forms more traditional to the art world, such as painting. Now, I'm the daughter of two New York Fluxus artists; Dick was in the historic John Cage composition class of 1958 at the New School for Social Research, which included most of the future practitioners of Fluxus in New York. For me, Fluxus is predominantly a social entity--it marked the need of a group of experimental artists to have a context, and they found each other in the Cage class. The "event," which is this Minimalist performance form where you have a simple instruction like "dripping" or "polishing"--some very reduced action--was invented in that class by George Brecht. George Maciunas first engaged with this group of artists in 1961 through his gallery, AG, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; he later invented the Fluxus Kit, which were these objects for handling and using, and which I think of as a materialization of the event. He also gave concerts to La Monte Young and many key figures in the avant-garde, and began publishing Fluxus scores and objects. So my definition comes from that New York context, which actually allows one to say quite a lot about Fluxus. But a definition of Fluxus should always hinge on the position from which your practitioner, writer, or thinker speaks about it.

Comment by DKULT on November 21, 2010 at 5:05pm
Morning, I have a question-what is the actual concept of fluxus kits?
Comment by Ruud Janssen on November 19, 2010 at 7:53pm
Searchable: YES

withi IUOMA : search window in upper corner right

Via Google : Yes

Elsewhere : Yes, the IUOMA network is indexed by searchengines. Only members can add informations.
Comment by Ruud Janssen on November 19, 2010 at 6:59pm
The link on Paper Sizes is very helpfull, so I placed it on the sidebar.
Comment by Valentine Mark Herman on November 19, 2010 at 3:33pm
I Googled a while back and tried to find out postage rates from country to country within Europe, but couldn't find the cross-national matrix that I was looking for. It might not exist, and if that is the case then it will be necessary to assemble this info on a country-by-country basis -- which shouldn't be too difficult as most countries are covered by IUOMA.
From France, there are 3 postal rates:i) internal @ €0.58, ii) to Europe, @ € 0.75, iii) to the rest of the world, @ € 0.87.
These rates are for standard size envelopes and postcards. For anything bigger, well then you have to go to La Poste where they weigh/measure whatever it you've got to send.
Regrads, Val

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