Artists generate ideas and art movements in relation to each other. Art movements are based on artists communicating and developing ideas that resonate and grow within the context of their group, for example, the impressionists explored light, the surrealists explored the unconcious.
Mail artists explore the mail systems as their focus. Many other movements and artists used mail to exchange ideas, but mail and postal delivery to form a network wasn't the main focus of other art movement who did also mail art. Ray Johnson used the mail as a central point of exploring the give and take of the path of art and ideas through systems of people connected through him. I believe Ray Johnson was the first self-defined central node in a system that grew to become the thousands of networked nodes (mail artists), each of them central to their own network experiences. The first correspondents gradually built out their own interconnected nets and here we are.
Now that the rules of mail art have been in practice for decades, new systems of distribution through electronic networks have caused us to question those rules and methods. Perhaps it is a good time to examine what still works, and redefine possible new directions for the eternal network. I believe this examination is already happening on several of our message boards at once as well as in congresses that will address issues of electronic networking this spring and summer.
What is important to continue in the name of mail art?
What should change and evolve?
Mail art evolution
Chickenoid with metallic acryl-gouache and rubber stamps and one real white feather in triple thick medium. 12 x 16 inches on…
Today's mail art sent into the network.
Floral combed zen chickens of Summer 2018 ink, watercolor and acrylic on 5x7 inch 140 lb. rough watercolor paper.