If someone is new to mail-art, which book would you recommend to someone to read....?
I suggest reading Ruud's interviews with mail artists. Over time, I find that I return to those more than any other sources of writing specifically about mail art. (Otherwise I look at books on Fluxus and various sources on Neoism.)
Mail art is so highly individualized that learning the experience of different people from different eras gives an overall picture. For instance, the Blaster Al interview was a true revelation to me and gave a picture of the era of Neoism and zines.
I definitely suggest the interviews.
just go to www.iuoma.org and find each interview there. Also they are published in bookform if you need hardcopy versions.
Vittore Baroni wrote a wonderful introduction to mail art in the mid-90s. Unfortunately it's written only in Italian (and it's been sold out for many years now anyway) but it was thanks to this book that I joined the m.a. network.
THE MAIL ART COMMUNITY IN EUROPE: a first hand view
Editor's note: Ginny Lloyd last July began a trek through the United States and Europe. First in Cleveland, she produced artwork and lectured on copy art, under the auspices of the Image Resource Center. Then in New York City, she met other mail artists and collaborated with them on some film and audio works, but the goal was Europe, which she visited for the next four months. The following is her report for Umbrella.
The collection at Stempelplaats was unbelievable to see: rubber stamps from all over the world, some carved by artists whose names I recognized, the artists' rubber stamp books and the published catalogues of the exhibitions held in the gallery made the October closing of this space a great loss. At the Other Books & So Archive, I was able to pour over files and files of catalogued documentation of artists' activities, artists' books, mail art, sound tapes and magazines. After days of visual overload, I realized it would be impossible for me to see everything. I did more research on my return to Amsterdam, but did not completely go through every file that interested me.