Pan-demonium by Mark Bloch (New York, New York, USA)

Mark B - 7.15.2015 - 1

Mail art by Mark Bloch aka Pan (New York City)

(Part I)

July 13, 2015 - Mark Bloch is a veteran mail artist who needs no introduction to those familiar with the Eternal Network. If you have not yet made his acquaintance, then I am thrilled to have this opportunity to share his work with you (in several installments). First, Mark Bloch’s website is a fantastic resource:

http://www.panmodern.com/Ray.html

http://www.panmodern.com/home.html

He generously sent me a hefty envelope packed with articles and artwork spanning different stages of his career. Here is a FAB piece he sent from the time of his involvement in the global art strike of the early 90s, which was closely connected to the network:

Mark Bloch - 7.13.2015 - 2

Mark Bloch has an incredible knowledge of mail art history. I believe he is a vitally important figure – even if controversial and sometimes vexing – on the current scene. After all, he helped shape that history and witnessed it firsthand. Additionally, he is an excellent writer. I am thrilled he sent his piece on mail art history:

Mark Bloch - 7.13.2015 - 3

Mark Bloch - 7.13.2015 - 4

I think this is a must-read piece for mail artists, especially those involved in IUOMA-Ning discussions attempting to define mail art and Ray Johnson’s connection to it. As some of you have no doubt observed at other venues (FB), Mark Bloch’s views on the current situation of Fluxus in the mail art network (as well as newer generation artists who call themselves Fluxus) can and do generate heated debate. I will not attempt an analysis of this complex situation, but I will share an erasure piece Mark Bloch sent. The Fluxus naming controversy provides, I believe, important context for the piece:

Marl Block - 7.13.2015 - 5

(Click to enlarge)

Mark Bloch - 7.13.2015 - 6

Mark Block - 7.13.2015 - 7

In my view, a fantastic (and incredibly humorous) erasure. Another piece from the package:

Mark Bloch - 7.13.2015 - 8

And the reverse:

Mark Bloch - 7.13.2015 - 9

My deepest thanks to Mark Bloch for sending all this great material! Watch for more installments in the days ahead…

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Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 15, 2015 at 3:08am

Stewart Home confirms today that's his art strike piece from "Scrap" all that time ago. You can't beat the internet for that kind of communication.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 14, 2015 at 7:02pm

Thx Ruud & RES, there are some great archives out there. Mine is pretty modest, mostly zines. The Steve Perkins piece appreared in "MaLLife," a zine put out by Mike Miskowski at Bomb Shelter Propaganda. I did correspond w/ Janet Janet & always thought s/he did great stuff.

The Art Strike that Mark Bloch references was a huge effort, as I recall. Here is a piece from a zine called "Scrap" (1988) by an Australia (in USA at the time) named Chris Winkler. Pete Spence knows him.

Now this art strike material (below) is attributed to Karen Eliot with a London address. So I assume that is Stewart Home. He did a lot to organize the strike.

Comment by Ruud Janssen on July 14, 2015 at 6:15pm

lots of treasures in all those 80-ies archives..........

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 14, 2015 at 4:09pm

Thanks, Res.

And Richard - being so close to Rochester, NY as I am, at least former headquarters of Kodak and Xerox, I've always been interested in the history of the image machines. (You mentioned Carlson.)

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 14, 2015 at 4:01pm

Thanks, Richard. Yes, I find Mark Bloch's writing is incredibly helpful with all varieties of current research. He is one of my blind spots, in that I know the name but wasn't very aware of him "back in the day" or the "first time around." That's my failing, not his. His disagreements w/mail artists and networkers over the use of the Fluxus name seem to be attracting a lot of attention. I never doubt his knowledge, experience and contributions, even if I don't entirely agree with his positions. He was very generous to send these pieces.

And you raise another great point, Richard. I believe eventually copy art will be far more recognized than it is. Or at least it should be, IMHO. An incredible body of copy art from, especially, the 80s and 90s (largely thanks to the m-a network) is out there. I hope it will be gathered, studied and displayed.

Here, for instance, is a piece I have by Steve Perkins (aka Janet Janet) who edited a zine in San Francisco during the 80s, Box of Water. Some might remember.

Comment by Richard Canard on July 14, 2015 at 3:41pm

14.07.15 Dare De Villo S., That Mark B. Chester Carlson piece is  a fine example of  VisPo ....what I would even attempt to label as "Concrete Poetry" (It is what it sez it is). I remember my first exposure to a xerox machine at  the college library back in the early 60's. It was almost as much fun as  learning to ride bicycle had been a few several years earlier. Mark Bloch is a important figure in Mail Art & I remember reading somewhere he even had the insight to record Ray Johnson telephone conversations. Thanks for posting . Richard C.

Comment by De Villo Sloan on July 14, 2015 at 1:26pm

Thx RES and others who seem to be finding this blog useful.

The panmodern link I used doesn't really connect much of any place. So I added a link (above) to the panmodern Ray Johnson material. Here is one of the Neoism links:

http://www.panmodern.com/neoism-intro.html

These give you a better sense of all the archival material available @ panmo.

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