The handmade second edition zine for the Presents: Three Months of Mail Art for Hyperallergic HQ exhibition is now available.

The cover of the sold out first edition.

The first edition featured covers and insert by co-curator Hrag Vartanian and the inside pages were created by co-curator Kate Wadkins.

For the second edition, the co-curators have swapped roles and Wadkins will be designing the covers and insert, while Vartanian creates the inside pages.

The price is still US$5 (includes shipping & handling, +$1 for int’l orders) and, like the first edition (which sold out in under 72 hours), there are only 80 number copies — so get yours fast!


All second edition zines will start shipping Tuesday, June 28.

11 replies on “2nd Edition of Mail Art Zine Now On Sale!”

  1. On Veken’s face book page you posted the following:

    hyperallergic:“ Thank you to everyone who supported us by buying a mail art zin…e. The first edition sold out in less than 72 hours! We’re considering a second edition but we need to catch our breath first. Let us know if you have any suggestions. If…

    I asked if the artists had been compensated to which Hrag replied,

    Hrag Vartanian Steven, the proceeds won’t even cover the expenses of staging the show, the printing and the opening party.

    Well, here are my suggestions then:

    #1) Raise your prices so that you can compensate the
    artists.  Anything that sells out that
    fast is woefully underpriced and given that the artists weren’t compensated, raise
    them a lot.  #2) I know you work hard,
    entertain the shit out of us with your reporting, but pay the artists before
    you mount a vanity show and throw yourself a congratulatory party.  #3) Acknowledge that the proceeds from the
    book are not the only revenue generated by this free content.  Veken has started an online advertising
    agency that is generating revenue.  This
    agency wouldn’t have gained one bit of traction without the influence that is Hyperallergic
    and all of its wonderful, creative, inspirational, insightful content.  There are dollars in the ads that run along
    side this content that should be considered a part of this project.  #4) Promise never to participate in, solicit,
    or especially sell any content that you have gotten for free or in exchange for
    the implied value of being mentioned on your blog.  You have too many followers, to many readers,
    and too much influence for that not to be incentive for artists to participate.  It is an egregious habit that all too many
    arts organizations (BAM, SOIL, The Sculpture Center, etc) participate in and
    the arts community needs to stand up and say that enough is enough.  Arts organizations who participate in this
    type of Ponzi scheme eat their own.  You
    guys are WAY BETTER than that. Way better.

    1. Steven, I think your opinion is misinformed and actually insulting. Veken and I don’t derive a salary from this and still subsidize everything (as in we don’t cover our bills). We also work two jobs each to make ends meet. Perhaps you’re uninformed about the economics of online publishing, but advertising makes very little and we’re still working on making it all work. I wish you’d ask questions instead of making grand statements.

      Also, $5 is quite high for a zine publication, perhaps that’s another field you are unfamiliar, with but we decided we should at least try to cover some expenses of this project. I’m disappointed you’ve made a nasty comparison of what we do to a Ponzi scheme, which is pretty low.

      From my conversations with people, most bought the catalogue as a token sign of support and it would allow us to continue doing what we do.

    2. This is just out of line. You misunderstand and misrepresent the structure, intentions, and function of Hyperallergic, this project, and similar ones. 

      Firstly, Hyperallergic isn’t an Art Organization. It’s an independent online publication with no funding that is kept afloat through *some* advertising and the hard work of its founders, who work full time jobs to support it. And not that their bookkeeping is your business really, but no one is getting rich off of it (at this point. I would love to hear that it grew into an independent, sustainable business).

      Secondly, please tell me what zine, journal, or magazine pays artists for publishing. Poetry, art… anything. Unless we’re talking a multimillion (billion?) dollar corporate publication, this doesn’t happen. It is absurd to ask that the first effort of an independent, unfunded online venture would be able to. 

      Finally, you have issues with the financial structures of the art world. That’s fair. It’s really harsh and difficult for artists to make money. That said, it’s laughable to pin that on a web start up magazine and to turn their attempts to help give artists exposure and notoriety into them ripping those artists off and making money from their hard work and expense. If you applied the rules you set forth, so many projects, publications, exhibitions, pop ups, etc would simply not happen. I don’t think this is a result that anyone wants. Artists simply have to sell artwork to make money. Being published in a small mail zine by a small, personally funded website is simply not a way to make any income and I don’t think any of the artists who worked on it were working under the pretense that it was. 

      You’re right, Hyperallergic does now have an impressive number of followers and influence. That is great. I could not be happier that it exists nor for Hrag and Veken for their efforts in making it happen out of nothing. But it’s still a nascent publication in many many ways. We should be celebrating that they are pulling projects like this together with little money and staff. Having an affordable zine is not only reasonable, it’s the best way to gain support, get new people involved, and build momentum for projects in the future.

      This is all just to say that your vitriol for two guys with the best intentions that have dedicated themselves to supporting, nurturing, and promoting art and artists is shockingly misplaced. Some of your points are reasonable and address real problems with the art world, but you’re definitely barking up the wrong tree. 

  2. I will take back some of the words I used.  It set a tone that was inappropriate for the situation and I apologize for that, but that alone.  I am a fan of Hyperallergic and of Hrag and Veken personally.  They also are receiving the blunt end of my long held frustration with this art world business model of eating their own.  Plenty of organizations (profit and non profit) trade on their perceived special dispensation to exploit artists.

    The economics of blog publishing in no way erase responsibility to behave appropriately.  That they aren’t making any money now, and in fact are supporting it by other means, is totally consistent with any start up business, especially one that is under capitalized.  Add a couple of zeros to the equation and replace Hyperallergic with Art in America; we would all be howling about it-probably on this very blog.

    I also want to point out the conflict of interest involved here that the language I chose unfortunately clouded over ( I clearly need an even handed editor).  Hyperallergic reviews shows.  They drive interest in exhibitions of art.  To then solicit artwork, free of charge and then turn around and sell it, is problematic.  Artists, galleries and museums want editorial coverage here because it makes a difference.  Regardless of how small the economic scale that is involved, it is an unfortunate precedent to set.  Not too long ago, I was approached by Surface magazine with a similar proposal: you provide us with a fancy new desk for our lobby, we will provide you with a couple of pages of editorial coverage.  I know Hrag and Veken had the best of intentions, did not in anyway see this as an exchange, but they should at all costs avoid even the appearance of editorial compromise. 

    In closing, I want to reinforce that I have all the respect in the world for what Hrag and Veken have achieved and I apologize for the tone of my first post.  If there is anyone capable of being successful on both a business level and ethically, it is the two of them. 

    1. Steven, this is mail art and what we are selling is a zine based on photocopies and curated images of the work, not the work itself. Also, the point of mail art is that it is sent free of charge to people around the world. What you are suggesting is actually against the whole notion of mail art (paying people to mail us stuff?). The project is perfectly suited for the medium and was created for this specifically. Part of the mission of Hyperallergic is to serve as a platform for voices not normally heard, and mail artists are one of those communities. I wish you were as vocal when it came to Hyperallergic and encouraging our readers to support what we do by buying ads, tshirts (which didn’t sell at all), and in other ways. I actually see the mail art world as very much like art blogging. We put things out into the world (for free) and the reward we get is starting conversations, encouraging others to delve into topics they may not be aware of and exploring new things in different and interesting ways.

  3. Hrag, you don’t put things out in the world for free, you sell advertisement and you are building value in a company that hopefully someday very soon will turn some sort of profit or be bought up. 

    I get “Mail Art”.  It has been around for decades and there is nothing new about it.  I’ll agree that often catalogs are printed for the benefit of those who have participated (did you send out a copy to everyone who submitted?) but the moment you sell it, you should sell it for enough so that you can compensate the artists too.  I think very few people would argue that point.

    There is nothing new about how casually our culture devalues the contributions our artists make.  Without art, NYC would be Dallas.  And yet, most of the working artists I know don’t have health insurance and are hanging by a thread.  Every penny helps and I would encourage you to rethink your pricing and who gets a cut.

    I’ll let you sort out the conclict of interest between an agency that reviews shows AND solicits free artwork that they will turn around and sell copies of. 

    Best regards,

    Steven Mesler

    1. Sell copies of? Steven, you’re experience in business seems limited. People sell tshirts, other things associated with projects. Etc. Also, zine are works of are that remix other works of art. Nobody would pay more than $5 for a zine, and that’s a high number as it is. I’m guessing you’re equally critical of Brooklyn Rail, Bomb and other publications that do charity auctions with artists.

  4. Hrag,  Yes I am equally critical and as I said earlier, you all unfairly received the blunt end of my frustration with this practice.  I’ll write a post about it for Huffington that more fairly describes why I think this art world business model should be put out of our collective misery.  Apologies for being hard on you and Veken specifically when perhaps it should of been more broadly written about.

  5. I’ll give you first right of first refusal 😀 and I’ll accept the per word rate you paid Kyle.  As for Huffington, I can’t name another news and entertainment blog that has added 200+ salaried employees in the last six years.  I won’t ever be one of them, but I accepted that going in. 

    To make peace, I promise to use your t-shirts as stocking stuffers this holiday season. 

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