Look at the figures below. There used to be lots of Mail Art Exhibitions/Projects -- anywhere between 120 and 230 each year, from 2007 to 2017.

Since Covid there are far, far fewer. And in 2022, as in 2021, there is likely to be less than 20. (That's 20 organised by the supposed 5,600+ IUOMA members plus other non-IUOMA Mail Aritists, as featured here)

Any ideas why this should be so?

Is Mail Art dying? Are Mail Art Exhibitions/Porjects becoming less relevant, less important, more difficult to hold? etc

  • 022 (14), as at 30/10/2O22

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Comment by Richard Canard on October 31, 2022 at 3:08pm

31.10.22 ......yes, yes---lots of problems involved with the IUOMA & mail art now & over the years. I assume you've noticed what's going on in the so-called "Real World"---it was bound to spill over into our sacred realm sooner or later.

Comment by Valentine Mark Herman on October 31, 2022 at 2:35pm

Thanks Katerina, Thanks Hélène. I don't think the speed of the postal service is that important, as almost all of what we send by mail is not time-sensitive, and today's postal service is probably no slower or no faster than it was in the early days of Mail Art. The cost of postage is more relevant, and from France a postcard costs about double the price of what it was a decade ago: which is why I send half as much, or less. I put most of the 'blame' for the decline of Mail Art (and many, many other things in society) to the Internet -- it has killed the original and basic element of Mail Art, ie post me something, and I will post you something back. Last observation -- for now, at any rate -- within IUOMA there is too much choice and specialisation -- do we really need 379 Groups (many of which are effectively dead) catering for anything and everything?

Comment by Hélène LAGACHE on October 31, 2022 at 9:20am

I did a lot of mail-art from 2008 to 2012. Then I stopped. I started again this year 2022 in June. I noticed the change especially of the postal service which has greatly deteriorated and has become "normative". No "naked" cards (the postman brought them to me!)not too much originality (size of the envelope, colors, collages on the envelope, position of the stamp: top right, not elsewhere) The price of the shipments has become excessive. This prevents some people from doing these mailings. For "mail-art calls" I note that in France there are still many cultural institutions or associations hat continue to do so. However rarely calls from schools, probably because of the price.
It’s not the same "lightness" anymore. That’s why I put this sticker on my MA: "postal art, space of freedom"

Comment by Katerina Nikoltsou (MomKat) on October 31, 2022 at 8:33am

There has been a decrease in all walks of life since 2020 Covid, only increase has been the less in-the-snail-mail and more on the email. And as William says, mail delivery is minimal...takes weeks if not months to get from Greece to the USA...and I can't even say how long to South America, Japan, Australia, etc. Up until the end of 2019 BC (Before Covid) mail art to Europe would take maybe 48 hours at the most, now something recently last week arrived from France, sent in June! Soooo, real snail mail and exhibit/projects for mail art are few and far between :-(

Comment by Valentine Mark Herman on October 30, 2022 at 7:19pm

Yes, but... the calls that didn't make it onto IUOMA was probably the same (or even less)  before Covid. From where I am in France, the Spanish and Italian postal systems may have been affected by Covid, but more lijely by industial action (read 'strikes'). I can't comment on Mexico and Argentina.

However you look at it, there has been a significant decrease

Comment by William M on October 30, 2022 at 5:35pm

i suspect there are just a lot of calls that don't make it onto the IUOMA page. less on IUOMA doesn't necessarily mean a decrease overall. of course mail hasn't been completely restored for us all. i still can't send mail to mexico or argentina and only recently did mail resume from here to italy and spain. that sort of situation may be affecting new shows.


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