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Mail-Art and Money

"Mail-Art and Money don't Mix" is what Lon Spiegelman wrote in the 80-ies. Are these views still shared by the current generation of mail-artists?

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Latest Activity: Nov 22

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Samples of Mail-Art for sale

Started by Ruud Janssen. Last reply by Ruud Janssen Apr 28, 2017. 4 Replies

When you discover that mail-art is being sold. Please leave a message here with a link.Continue

Cavellini for sale via Catawiki. What do you think?

Started by Heleen de Vaan. Last reply by Richard Canard Jan 30, 2017. 4 Replies

I came across…Continue

Tags: catawiki, Cavellini, mail art for profit?, money

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Comment by RJ - Moderator on November 1, 2009 at 10:25am
Is mail-art a commercial activity?
Comment by RJ - Moderator on November 1, 2009 at 10:23am
Making money means getting more in return then investing (economy principle).
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 10:19am
In other words (programmist language), we must first define entities, second relations and only third - permissions. I mean under entity "mail art network" all mail art related activity, including exhibitions, books, festivals, etc. You mean under "mail art network" only process of (direct) communication between mail artists. Because of different objects - different permissions.
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 10:08am
But why book about mail art is not mail art? If we'll count all hard-money processes (books about mail art, making exhibitions, organizing festivals) are not mail art (why?) what we'll left under mail art? Interesting position. If mail art is by definition activity, where You can not make money - then question about mail art and money closed, by definition. But problem is even not here. Real problem is that mail art is (or was) non-commercial activity, so You as mail artist can not make any mail art related actions (including distributing books about mail art) for money, it's real purist position. You have wonderful point - You are purist (so ALL Your mail art related activity must be non-commercial), but I want to sell something mail art related (books in Your case) and really selling this, but it does not any matter, because this selling of mail art related books has no relation to mail art! Bravo! You are non-commercial artist, but You are making money on it (because if You are selling - it's of course commercial activity, and, certainly, mus be separate - it's steps of Your thoughts; from Antic Greeks we know this process as demagogy)! In any case, You are not non-commercial artist (and not mail artist, in purist words, because any mail art related activity for purist is non-commercial) if You are selling any works or products (books about mail art).
Comment by RJ - Moderator on November 1, 2009 at 8:13am
Mail-Art is the conceptual process. The results are artifacts. If you make a drawing (which isn't mail-art) and sell it (you are just selling a drawing, again no mail-art), that is something everybody can just do. Calling something mail-art means that you are communicating your art with someone else (mail, e-mail, fax, and all communicationforms you can think of) without any obligations (guilt free).

The basic 'unwritten rules' of mail-art have been published often, but somehow everybody has their oen interpretation. A book about mail-art is just descibing the process, it ISN'T the process itself. Mail-Art is all about the concept behind the exchange, not the results of the exchange. A mail-art exhibition is just an exhibtion with the artifacts.The sending of the mail-art pieces itself is the 'performance' tjought out years ago with the rules that anybody can take part without any restrictions.

The mail-art hasn't changes. Only the communicationforms have evolved. We can speed things up in the process with our computers. But you are sending things out for free, and not because someone is paying money for that. I work with mediadesigners all the time (actually it is one of the departments at out college I work for), and they eventually do get paid for their designs. Mail-Art and money aren't to be mixed, it is the exchange what it is about, not the endproducts.....
Comment by RJ - Moderator on November 1, 2009 at 7:26am
It is a matter of definition for sure. You write Yuri: "Mail Art is changing, You are one of last purists". I am wondering if I am the only purist here. And is Mail-Art realy changing as concept, that is that the mail-artists sends out his/her art to the receiver without any obligations (money is one of the obligations: the other has to buy, and that is what I am agains in mail-art).

If I sell a book about mail-art, the book and the selling-process is NO mail-art. The process described in the book was mail-art (and no money was involved in that process. If you are in Mail-Art to make money, you have choosen the wrong place. How do other think about this? I don't think Gik juri and I will come to the same conclusion.....
Comment by Gik Juri on October 31, 2009 at 10:06pm
Again we have that old question. What is Mail Art really? Interaction of mail artists? Ok, what kind of interaction? By means old merry postal service? Only? What else? Electronic media? What kind? What about meetings and festivals? Or performances, related to mail art? Is any artistamp mail art? Or rubber stamp? All non-commercial activity? Depending on answers, we'll define what is possible or not. Everybody must define!
Comment by Gik Juri on October 31, 2009 at 9:56pm
Why to ask questions about mail art and money, if You have so strong purist position? At the same Minden but some years ago on the same Festivals with the same organizers and partly same participants (Harley, for example, or Dawn) this question was stressed, there were purists, etc. Now Peter organized special place for selling artistamps and even had insurance money for that sellings (50 euros) - postmasters (Jas, Dogfish, Harley, Buz Blurr, me) in any case sold artistamps on this 50 euros (to public, mail artists or organizers). So... Situation changed rapidly, no purists, no question, no problem to sell, it's reality now. Artistamps, artists books, catalogues are selling from the early days of mail art - ask Jas. Yes, there are artistamp makers who has no idea about mail art network - artistamps were grown away from this network. But because of a lot of reasons main part of artistamp makers (and me too) continue to be part of mail art network, they trade artistamps and other works with mail artists, participate in mail art projects, etc.

So... I have some copies of artistamp sheets. One I sold during the Festival of mail art, other distributed in the mail art network. This work left related to mail art, because it was distributed in the network in any case. Here are some interesting moments.
1. Why is so important what I am doing with artistamp sheets which are not distributed in the network? It's my work, I can do with it what I want, can destroy it, present to mother or friend (not mail artist) and certainly sell it!
2. Why do You think that Minden Festival of mail art and performance has no relation to the mail art network? For me it was part of the network, and all special events and actions organized there (including this space for selling and bargains of this selling) are part of the mail art network. Mail Art is changing, You are one of last purists.
Comment by RJ - Moderator on October 31, 2009 at 7:08pm
If you sell artistamps, these artistamps have nothing to do with mail-art. Mail-Art as a conceptual artform has to do with the exchange of ideas creations etc... When someone want to buy the results of a mail-art interaction, that is up to the owner of the mail-art piece. It is then no longer Mail-Art (e.g. the conceptual process), put just an artifact.
Comment by Gik Juri on October 31, 2009 at 2:29pm
There were some real sales in Minden. I sold some artistamp sheets to Petra Weimer and bought some at Harley and Jas Felter, and traded some with Jas and Dogfish (on the Jas's book on artistamps). Probably, anybody sols to real public, they had interest, but it has no matter who was buyer - mail artist or not, main is bargain. Art world is stupid, it can not recognize Mail Art as its part with zero-price works, prices on works (archives, projects, etc.) will increase. The same happened already with other non-commercial medias as performance or installation, which are in the art market, have big prices, etc. Performances by Marina Abramovich are money expansive, and she is not poor artist.
 

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