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.
I said this to one of the participants in this forum the other day and I will repeat it here. I have only been able to organise one exhibition of Mail Art in 2019 at the Moscow Museum, but I was able to negotiate with the Moscow Museum to create an archive collection of mail art there.
The Moscow Museum was originally a city museum, but it has grown considerably and has become one of the main cultural centres of our city. In Russia, museum legislation is very strict; if an artefact is accepted by a commission of any state museum, it becomes part of the country's museum fund. It is subject to the law of perpetual storage, the loss or damage of this artefact is punishable by criminal law, and a photograph of the artefact must be posted on the museum's internet portal. The Museum of Moscow has accepted my collection, as well as gifts from three other artists, including Richard Bode and Robert Scala.
What I am writing now has no direct bearing on the topic of this discussion. And yet I wanted to talk about it in connection with the Mail Art exhibitions.
This topic is old, but here's my thoughts anyway:
To add to everything everyone said here, we must not forget that Mail Art also has the dadaist spirit, its playful nature and, some times, its anti art attitude. So there's no point in throwing laws, rules and regulations and doing things the institutional way. It only constrains Mail Art's freedom. Mail Art, for me, is about exchanging art with artists around the world freely. Not about institutions and the art market.