Thinking about Mail-Art

Bernard Suits' book "The Grasshopper" analyses play which many would think is a facet of mail-art. What other thoughts do you have concerning mail-art

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Latest Activity: Aug 12, 2020

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Comment by carl baker on August 12, 2020 at 3:31am


good to hear from a real gamer,

lets start by sharing some mail-art,

i will send u something soon,

cheerio, cb.

Comment by Hilary Konrad on August 12, 2020 at 3:11am


A sentence emblazoned across the entire span of the Fluxus ovals-model originally created by Dick Higgins & still in interactive use on today...Heck, I use it daily, if for no other reason than to flex my creative muscles and wander through the sites vertable panoply of amusements, including things like the "surrealist compliment generator," "museum of dirt," "Fluxus Sports/Olypic Games," "Fluxus Housework..." ALSO: "Fluxamusements," as well as the many variations on the "Fluxkit" theme (originated by Maciunas & gang) "The idea of art (or life) as a game in which the artist reconfigures the rules is central to Fluxus." (M. Schwendener/N.Y. Times/6 Jan. 2012). Fluxus-branded "amusements" run the gammit from off-beat to completely off-the-wall; they are always poetic, usually abstract, most of the time laugh-out-loud hilarious even if we can't quite put our finger on the funny part exactly. Many of these "amusements" were simultaneously playful and subversive; Ben Vautier's "Total Art Match-Box" (1966) reads "use these matches to destroy all art museums art libraries readymades pop art; burn everything..."

So many genres, movements , groups, trends & phenomena closely related to Mail art continue to hold the game and play in high esteem when it comes to the creation, appreciation, dissemination and politics back then today and undoubtedly into the future. So: what of all this? Nowadays, I see as arising from both a mail art & a fluxus seedling the Neoism trend in art, whose associated websites and links are just packed-to-the-brims with all-out fun, funniness, nonsense as well as satire and witty ironical commentaries...

NOW! Some Questions For You:

1. In general, what does everyone out there think about all of this talk of Fluxamusements, "unfettered play" as a path to artistic enlightenment?

2. Can you think of other connected examples similar to Fluxamusements, kits, neoism, etc? 

3. MAIL ART CALL: Let's all put the pedal to the medal now and play it up, MAIL ART STYLE!!! Anyone out there willing to/wanting to "play" along, post your results to this discussion forum and we'll go from there!!! 

In the meantime, check out the following links for some inspiration:


Comment by Francis Lammé on August 9, 2020 at 2:34pm

Sometimes I start with a material that my hands delight in giving a new shape. Sometimes I experiment by creating multiples and changing the rules slightly for the next one. Sometimes I want to work with a certain color combination. Turquoise meets purple on a background of mossy green with ochre accents...  I also like to put on a slideshow of peoples previous mail art things and react on it as I create. Free association. The topic that I think had value and is worth sharing. Or just start decorating an envelope and see what I have to fill it up. Sometimes I think what I want to send, sometimes I imagine the other receiving my mail. I always like to make it a real experience that can last for at least a couple of minutes. 

Comment by Francis Lammé on August 8, 2020 at 2:07am

I am hoping to go deep on the topic of thinking about mail art. Play is a wonderful way to reach your natural way of doing things. That way, you'll learn about your preferences in style and technique. When I brainstorm about mail art , other things come to mind. Doing, messing around and thinking all get me different results. 

Comment by Ficus strangulensis on September 23, 2019 at 3:10pm

OOOOh, Ooh, Ooh! I'm SOOOOO glad you started the 'Grasshopper' discussion. It's one of my most favorite books! Thank you.

Comment by TIZIANA BARACCHI on December 26, 2017 at 9:20am

Do you want to participate in CHECKPOINT
Send to my address 3 equal original works in A4, signed, paper or light cardboard. The theme means your work.
1st deadline: The Birthday of Art 2018, January 17th. But it goes on.
Leave 2 cm free on the left side for binding.
Technique: handmade.
via Cavallotti 83B

Comment by Ficus strangulensis on January 23, 2017 at 3:47pm

The "money$$$" is in the mail!

Comment by carl baker on January 23, 2017 at 4:21am

maybe mail-art is a FAD, just sayin' it is a passing fancy for some, join the union of lost souls, but a very profitable fad, so send money$$$ today,

Comment by De Villo Sloan on January 17, 2017 at 11:03pm

And don't forget the Jackson Pollock in some collection that has at least one dead fly encrusted in the paint.

Otherwise, play is a well-established practice in m-a & related avant art. Does it start w/Ray Johnson's wordplay that is akin to Modernists like James Joyce?

M-a anarchist Bob Black advocated for a kind of adult play in "The Abolition of Work" pamphlet that became famous circulating in the network.

Even philosophers like Jacques Derrida viewed the flow of language as a kind of play, essentially.

Comment by Richard Canard on January 17, 2017 at 8:16pm

17.01.17 Dare Ficus S. & DeVillo S., ...memory tells me that sometimes a Ray Johnson letter would include a segment of Scotch tape over the squashed carcass of a fellow collaborating insect. .... & I have personally witnessed( especially during the summer months) fruit flies that seem to be very interested in the  outgoing mail that awaits on the kitchen,  I have also seen some exceptionally fine (after the fact) collaborations by  the  archival silverfish in the basement. Sincelery, Richard C.


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