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?

Members: 29
Latest Activity: Feb 6

Discussion Forum

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 4:49pm
Gik, You called me the purist. I never claimed to be one. I could be a purist and sell books. Nothing wrong with that. Being a mail-artist doesn't mean that I can't do other things as well. When I call something mail-art, a mail-art exhibition and a mail-art catalogue, then no money is envolved. My books are no mal-art projects. They have to do with other undertakings.

I was in contact with John Held dring that period and know better how that went. He didn't have problems like you descibed them. Only mail-artists didn't liked the idea of a book that had to be bought because they rather would have it for free.But his book was no mail-art project either.

Mail-Art is a conceptual artform. Not only communication. So my definition goes further. I never said that a mail-art exhibition is not mail-art. But when for a so called mail-art exhibition a fee is requested and participants can buy a catalogue, then I consider that the wrong term for such a project or exhibition. It is like the artworld would work, and they would even select which works they want to show or not.

Besides mail-art I also paint. I do not send my paintings out for free. And I do enter juried shows with them. In mail-art I paint sometimes envelopes. i send them out for free to the ones I want them to have.

Somehow with your last sentence you wanted to place me in a box. I don't fit into boxes. Just accept that.

Why do you want mail-art and money to be mixed? That is my question to you. Should I ask each user of the IUOMA-platform for an entrance fee for the hours I invest in moderating this site? Do you want your mail-art collection to be woth something? (most old-time mail-artists have the problem of what to do with their archives. Sell them or donate them to a larger museum...?).

I have nothing against money. I work hard to earn mine. But when I call something mail-art no money is envolved. Writing books with historic material for others to read is not a mail-art project, and I am unable to send out something like that for free. I just sell for what it costs to print, so from an economical point of view I don't make a profit (normally I even don't get back what I invested).

So I am not convinced that a purist can't sell books. He just can't do it and integrate it with a mail-art activity. I know the bounderies are changing. Some ask money for catalogues, etc. That has been done for decades already. The Internet hasn't changed that a bit. What has changed is that newcomers in mail-art haven't heard about what has been done in the past. every mail-artist has to discover all again. Nothing wrong with that. It is worth the ride.
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 3:51pm
Yes, John Held Jr. sold his books about mail art and had a lot of problems with this fact from purists of mail art, it's fact. So, for purist - mail artist can not sell books about mail art, he must distribute them in the mail art network for free.
OK! Publishing of mail art books is not mail art. Mail art exhibitions are not mail art. Festivals of mail art are not mail art. Mail art performance is not mail art. Right? It's Your vision of mail art, mail art is only communication. It's right?
Certainly, simple communication not required money (while people has no intention to sell communication immediately), here is no space for discussion about mail art and money then.

I can repeat only that for me (and almost for all my mail art friends) mail art includes not only communication, it involves mail art books, mail art performances, mail art exhibitions and Festivals of mail art. If to understand mail art this way we'll have this problem of mail art and money and possible different points of view on this problem.

If You are purist - You must not sell books. Otherwise You are not purist. Mail art and money don't mix!
Comment by RJ - Moderator on November 1, 2009 at 3:13pm
Gik, You are being a bit strange..... John Held Jr was selling books on Mail-art in the 90-ies. In the 80-ies Michael Crane was selling books about mail-art. In 80-ies and 90-ies crackerjack kid was selling books on mail-art. Just some examples that the purists in mailart always did something like this but valued the mail-art rules when they were doing mail-art. The publishing of a mail-art book is NOT MAIL-ART as I told before. What level of discussion is it when you mention facts that are not true.
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 12:51pm
Such level of discussion "I am purist, but I am selling books about mail art" is good illustration of degradation in the mail art network now.
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 10:37am
You must define entities first. Especially important relations between mail art and mail art books/exhibitions/festivals (mail art includes them or not). From answer on this question You'll define permissions, what You can and cannot.
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 10:32am
Making mail art means getting more in return than giving (trading/exchange principle)
Comment by Gik Juri on November 1, 2009 at 10:31am
You are selling book about mail art. It's commercial activity, no doubt.
If "selling mail art book" belongs "mail art" then
"it's commercial activity, no doubt"
else "continue discussion"
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.

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