MinXus Mail Bag: Monty Cantsin Mail-Art Mystery (Richmond, Virginia, USA)

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Mail-art by Monty Cantsin (Richmond, Virginia, USA)

We received mail-art from Monty Cantsin and are curious to know who adopted the famous moniker. Monty Cantsin is a multiple user identity anyone can adopt for artistic purposes, and the name has been used in the mail-art network since it was invented by David Zack in the 1970s. MinXus-Lynxus is one of the few blogs in the world that reports on Neoism. Monty Cantsin is associated with Neoism; the only artist with Neoist leanings we know in Virginia is Jim Leftwich (in Roanoke). As shown above, Monty revealed himself on a gambling card. Here is the other side of the card:

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Without the Monty Cantsin twist, we would consider this a Trashpo mailing; discarded lottery cards are a Trashpo staple. The card was enclosed in half of a brown paper bag that has been decorated.

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Initially, when we saw “Seer” on the return address, we thought it was mail-art from Chris “Mudhead” Reynolds, who edits a zine called Seers. Chris often makes designs similar to those on the bag. Upon closer inspection, we grew less certain about Chris Reynolds. He lives in Arizona and has never made a reference to Neoism (as far as we know). The bag also refers to an enclosed nail, which we could not find.

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This is not the first time MinXus-Lynxus has been drawn into Neoist mysteries, although it is the first time we have heard from Monty Cantsin. In typical Neoist fashion, there likely will be no explanation or closure. We could try mailing to the address on the envelope, although we suspect it is fake. If anyone could help us out, the information would be appreciated.

Istvan Kantor aka Monty Cantsin – founder of Neoism – Vandalizes Jeff Koons Exhibition at the Whitney Museum

As widely reported in the media, Istvan Kantor aka Monty Cantsin vandalized the Jeff Koons exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City on August 20.

Kantor managed to write a message on a blank wall using his own blood before he was apprehended, removed from the museum and confined in a mental hospital. No artwork was damaged. Kantor has a long history of similar art actions in museums and galleries across the world.


Kantor and mail-art legend David Zack established Neoism in the late 1970s. The underground movement reached an audience of many thousands if not millions in the 1980s and into the 1990s by skillful promotion via the international mail-art network and related zine networks. Kantor is not known to be currently active in the mail-art network but certainly stands as a historical figure.

A cabal known as “The 14 Secret Masters of the World,” members alleged to have been well-known mail-artists, were involved in the promulgation of Neoism as well. Their identities remain mostly unknown and disputed, although Blaster Al Ackerman self-identified as a ringleader of the group.

Monty Cantsin is a multiple-user identity created by Zack and Kantor. Originally, Cantsin was conceived as the identity of an imaginary pop star anyone could become for a limited period of time.

Neoism’s decline (at least in the mail-art network) was related to a belief among members that the Monty Cantsin identity was too closely identified with Kantor. British author and artist Stewart Home created another multiple-user identity – Karen Eliot – at least in part as a response to Kantor’s use of Monty Cantsin. A third multiple-user identity – Luther Blissett – is also associated with Neoism.

Neoism splintered and evolved into various other movements and projects connected to the mail-art network: Plagiarism, Tourism, Anti-Neoism and the global art strike of the early ’90s, among others. Some former Neoists as well as new initiates currently identify themselves as Post-Neo and have a presence both in and outside the network.

Kantor, recipient of Canada’s Governor General’s Award in performing arts, underwent extensive psychiatric evaluation following his art action and was soon released.


MinXus Mail Bag: Applied Alchemical Poetics by David Stanley Aponte (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA)

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Mail-art by David Stanley Aponte (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA)

David Stanley Aponte – Sub-Real Alchemy kindly sent us this great postcard he has been circulating in the Eternal Network this summer. We see this as a commentary on increasing police state militarization in The West as well as growing dissension among groups within the fabled 99 percent. David Stanley Aponte’s alchemical transmutation of the scene occurs especially with the inclusion of a video game icon. This can be viewed as a revelation of our imprisonment within Baudrillard’s notion of “The Simulacra” or Debord’s “Spectacle.” Possibilities for escape and subversion must necessarily begin with an awareness of the illusory nature of manufactured reality.

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The Free Sub-real College of Dallas stamp is great! Network veterans have noted parallels in Aponte’s work with Neoism, the Church of the Subgenius as well as pataphysics. (The post-punk character on the card even bears a resemblance to tENTATIVELY, a CONVENIENCE). A closer look, however, indicates David Stanley Aponte is refreshingly original and far from a vestige of Neoism.

Many thanks to David Stanley Aponte for this wonderful mail-art!

MinXus Mail Bag: World’s longest running add & pass from Ruud Janssen (Netherlands) via Mail-Art Martha (UK)

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We are deeply honored that Mail-Art Martha (Beckenham Kent, UK) chose us to receive this historic Add & Pass (a copy) being circulated by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands). As you can see, this document originated with David Zack (one of the founders of Neoism) in 1983 and was sent to legendary UK correspondent Robin Crozier. Latin American visual poet Clemente Padin sent it to Ruud Janssen in 1984. After a very long hiatus, this incredible document is circulating again. Here is the rest of the list:

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We immediately decided John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA) would be an ideal recipient and thought he might really enjoy seeing this. John, among many other contributions, was an architect of Neoism and likely corresponded with many people who signed the document. We are thrilled the piece is back in circulation. Mail-Art Martha also enclosed some wonderful material:

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Mail-Art Martha re-purposed Ruud Janssen’s envelopes:

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This presents a small tribute to Rain Rien Nevermind. And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Mail-Art Martha for the great work and for the opportunity to participate in a historic project.

MinXus-Lynxus Publishing Division Releases New Title

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Rare documentation of a performance by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (Murraygate Shopping Mall, Dundee, Scotland, August 13, 1988)

“The Portable booed usic Busking Unit was a battery powered portable concrete mixing studio that I designed & built w/ the aid of my friend Dave Guercio. In 1988 & 1989 I performed many a guerrilla action w/ it [in] such far-flung places as London, Edinburgh, Dundee, the North Sea, & San Francisco – bringing my booed usic to the unprepared public whether they liked it or not. Here’s footage from the best documented of these actions: a collaborative performance in a shopping mall in Dundee, Scotland.”


MinXus-Lynxus Officially Approves Gonzo Library of the Indie Outlaw

Tenderfoots interested in zines, micro presses, chapbooks, and ephemera related to mail-art might be interested in the Gonzo Library of the Indie Outlaw. A large collection of material is being assembled ranging from obscure Beat generation material to classics from the Age of Zines and beyond:


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