It’s only natural that some mail art should focus not on the content of the package but on the envelope itself. After all, the envelope is an integral part of what defines mail art. To illustrate that, we’re posting a collection of envelopes that we’ve received for our ongoing Mail Art Bulletin.

From Bo Bartlett‘s all-over example mailed to us from Washington state and Steve Martinez‘s playful submission from Texas or the two postcards (one from Gail Anderson in Texas and the other from lonesomeaesthetic in the UK) that arrived in envelopes and Guido Vermeulen‘s painted work from Belgium or even @rejinl‘s envelope inside an envelope, it’s all about the packaging, baby.

This short retrospective should make you think: what exactly constitutes “mail art”? We’ve been pondering that question while looking over the diverse group of works we’ve been sent. Is mail art just art that has been mailed? Or does the work have to engage with the genre of mail art itself, making transformative use of stamps, envelopes and paper materials?

To me, the most interesting mail art has been those works that have played with the process of opening mail, making us notice the excitement that comes with a closed box or a sealed envelope. It’s the interactivity and the unveiling process that matters, the experience of seeing the object unfold.

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

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

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