Contact: Works that Create a Community through Physical, Virtual, or Momentary Relationships.
My paper is called Commercializing the uncommercializble:
New Threat to the 40-year old Mail Art Community
Mail Art is a free international exchange of artworks through the postal system. Mail Art has been called the world’s largest art movement with thousands of international participants over 4 decades making up the Mail Art community. In late 2003 an auction invitation from Paris circulated throughout the Mail Art Network. The auction threatened one of the basic tenets of the Mail Art culture: that mail art is free. The invitation triggered an outpouring of discussion over the sale of Mail Art. A dynamic record of artists’ responses to the auction is recorded in a growing collection of Internet posts in several languages on www.boek861.com in Spain. The Internet is a relatively new technology adaptation for mail artists, and the boek861 online publication of the raw discussion is a rare window into the group dynamics of the Mail Art Network. This Mail Art and money controversy illustrates the intense feeling of community in Mail Art and paints a vivid picture of the artists’ dedication to the freedom of expression and the open gift-giving art economy that is at the center of the Mail Art Network.