Errors, Fakes and Oddities

Kentifrica, based on a creation by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle

I was intrigued by the NH Institute of Art’s email, a call for entries to Errors, Fakes and Oddities: An International Mail Art Exhibition.

Mail art? Over the past few months I’ve made almost 40 collages on blank postcards. We’d used sheets of postcards to print invitations for campaign house parties last fall, and had most of a box left. Using a consistent size to make collages was appealing. I like working within forms. The last series of collages I did were in a 12″ x 6″ sketch book. Most of the poems I write end up in a 14 line, sonnet format. I’m not a formalist, but I do like form. This form worked — 5.5″x 4.25″ cards with a blank back for a message and address.

The call for entries set out the guidelines:
1. Mail art is sent without the expectation of receiving something in return.
2. Mail art shows are never juried.
3. All artwork is free or bartered.
4. Collaboration is always encouraged.
5. Process is more important than product.

Mail art started in the 1950’s and has had a steady following since of artists who mail art to each other as a way to promote interconnection. It’s an international, populist art, accessible to anyone, maintained outside traditional exhibition and approval systems — art markets, museums, and galleries. Mail art shows accept all submissions. Which seems just right for the first time I want to “show” my artwork — no competition, just connection and appreciation.

In this exhibition the art isn’t returned to the artist but artists can barter their work with each other at the show’s close. Having looked at the website with art already submitted, I plan to be at the closing reception to do some trading.

The artists putting the show together say “mail art is social–it’s a form of communication that builds social networks. There can be hundreds to thousands of artists in a single person’s network — a tactile form of Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.” What a great idea, to resurrect analog experience.

The Mail Art show will be at the Sharon Arts Gallery in Peterborough from March 8 – April 14, with an opening reception on Friday, March 8 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Jazz Men
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