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Mail Art Bulletin: Layers of Discovery

Since we sent out a request for mail art, we’ve received 27 mail art submissions from five countries (Belgium, Canada, Spain, the United States and Uruguay) and nine US states (Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont). We’ve so far published five of the mail art works we’ve received — this post is our sixth — and the material keeps coming in. WOOT!

The work we’re featuring today gives you an inkling at how layered and mysterious the medium of Mail Art can be. Stuffed with a zine, faux currency, postcards, “stamps,” random ephemera and a personal note addressed to Hyperallergic, the latest edition of the Mail Art Bulletin is from Larry Angelo of Manhattan.

Angelo, from what I could find online, is a longtime mail artist who is active in Mail Art circles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and most importantly this), an eraser carver and part of FUN (Funtastic United Nations), which is “an independent and supranational organization where the passports, postage stamps and banknotes are real but not the wars.”

Angelo’s package reminded me of the popular Griffin & Sabine book series from the 1990s — though the mail artist was creating work far before the series began — though, unlike the Nick Bantock books, Angelo doesn’t rely on melodrama to drive the experience of visual discovery.

Exploring his envelope felt like finding a shoebox stashed in a forgotten corner of a closet or attic. Prints mingle with unfamiliar stamps and postal cancellation stamps from around the world cover soo many of the surfaces. I particularly enjoyed the red rubber stamp on the front of the envelope featuring a professional-looking gentleman carrying a briefcase in his right hand and files under his left arm.

As I separated the layers within, it felt like I was exploring the identity of its creator, so I carefully looked at each piece trying to figure out the logic behind this mysterious work. If only all snail mail was this unpredictable.

As an added treat, Angelo included a Fall/Winter 2010 copy of Node Pajomo in his package. The publication is:

… a contact spot for mail artists, tape traders, and freaks of all sort from all corners of the globe … Wait, a globe doesn’t have corners!

The writing in the introductory pages goes on to explain what “Mail Art” is in a wonderfully snarky way:

… the exchange of all sorts of art via the postal system. This is, by definition, a bad definition. One should NOT be using the words to be defined in the definition, should one? However, we all know what MAIL is and we all have sort sort o malleable definition of ART in our head and if you smoosh those ideas together, you are well on your way to being confused and disappointed.

Included in the pages are numerous contacts for Mail Art and zines seeking submissions. This publication seems like a treasure trove for the mail art-inclined individual.

If you would like to be considered for inclusion in our Mail Art Bulletin, please send your mail art to:

Hyperallergic HQ
181 N 11th Street, Suite 302
Brooklyn, NY 11211

 

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