It’s no secret that Ray Johnson’s tongue-in-cheek and often ambiguous style was meant to both highlight and obscure meaning through an appropriation of words and images. His life-long commitment to that practice is visible in a collection of correspondence sent to Robert Rauschenberg between the years 1952 and 1965, which is newly available in MoMA’s Archives. This collection—which includes small collages, newspaper clippings, postcards, and flyers—serves as an excellent example of Johnson’s enigmatic mail art of the 1950s and 1960s.
Posts tagged ‘Mail art’
When friends went off on a summer vacation adventure and I heard myself request that they be sure to post some pictures on Instagram, I wondered what happened to “send postcards?” It really was not so very long ago when I could open my mailbox (my letter box) and regularly find a picture postcard from someone gone halfway around the world—or even just across town—with a handwritten personal note or a “having a wonderful time wish you were here,” or some artist post cards with wonderful, artfully collaged imagery from a mail art–artist friend. Now, it’s a rarity.
In advance of The Making of Mail Art, an artist-led MoMA Class taking place on February 21, the instructors—Zanna Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Drawings and Prints, and David Horvitz, an artist—answered a few questions about their personal experiences with mail art, the unique elements of this art form, and the collection of mail art that Horvitz has sent to Gilbert at MoMA over the past two years.
Recently I explored a collection of mail art held by the MoMA Library and put together a small show titled Analog Network: Mail Art, 1960–1999. It’s on view in the Education and Research Building through January 5.
A postage stamp is a small, government-issued square of paper adhered to mail in order to enable its circulation. An artist’s stamp, in the simplest of terms, is an object that is related to a postage stamp in either its form or content, but which does not necessarily help deliver a letter.
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