MinXus Mail Bag: “Prisoner of T.O.X.I.S.” by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

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Mail-art by Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

In September what proved to be a brief and uneventful hiatus from online activity and the network by DVS prompted the Queen of Trash to unleash a DKult dragnet, as she seems to have been convinced of a new and sinister T.O.X.I.S. conspiracy. While concerns were unfounded, it produced some D-Klassic mail-art:

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The irony is that DVS has made so many public allegations about others being held hostage and re-programmed for obscure plots in a fabled “Mexican clinic” that, depending on which version of the story you encounter, is run by T.O.X.I.S., Neoists or both. In addition to these two remarkable, approximately 8.5 x 11 inch panels above, the envelope contained a generous sampling of authentic trash from Elgin, the dream of many a Kulter:

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And even more presented to you here as a spontaneous scannerbed composition:

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All this came in a wonderfully decorated envelope:

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The reverse:

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Many thanks to DK for the concern. Will the complete truth of what happened during those weeks in September 2014 eventually be revealed? Perhaps. Perhaps there is little to report that would not be mundane or boring. Or perhaps, for now: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth” because “The truth is ‘out there.'”

New DKULTNY promo-prop (promotional propaganda): “DKult – It’s the new scientology.”

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The Lomholt Mail Art Archive: A FAB resource

Thanks to Sinclair Scripa, we have discovered the Lomholt Mail Art Archive, which presents a spectacular collection of material, mostly from the 1970s and 80s. This is an incredible snapshot in time of a particularly exciting era in mail-art history (actually several eras and a number of different networks).

http://www.lomholtmailartarchive.dk/

The Correspondence A-Z section has a fantastic holding of works by Crozier, Ackerman, Zack, Kantor and associated artists. Work by David Zack is not easy to find, and the Lomholt archive gives tremendous insight into the early days of Neoism, even if work by Ray Johnson and his circle and Fluxus are lacking.

The Mail Art Network section is even more impressive, delving back further into the 70s and presenting scans of entire books and zines. Some great work by John M. Bennett is in there. Generationally, collective network memory does not go much further back than the 80s these days. Anyone who has dug into collections knows the 70s (and 60s for that matter) were fascinating times as well. The network’s connection to “serious” conceptual art and experimental writing as well as intellectual currents and theory (such as semiotics) are apparent in the Lomholt archive.

We think it is well worth spending some time there and rediscovering what others have done.

MinXus Mail Bag: tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Store (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

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Front and back covers of Suggestion Box Residue #2 zine (2011) by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Last summer we sent a mail-art package to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE thanking the legendary performance artist profusely for participating in the MinXus-Lynxus Who Has The Best Hair Contest. He brought our performance to a new level and fulfilled our dream (at long last) of working with him. Also a veteran mail-artist who has communicated thoughtfully with thousands who have sought him out, tENTATIVELY, a cCONVENIENCE sent us a characteristically wonderful package, which we are thrilled to share with you.

He sent us his 36-page Suggestion Box Residue #2 zine, and we are presenting excerpts here. While tENTATIVELY, a CONVENIENCE might wish to characterize himself as a “mad scientist,” his longtime fans know him as performance artist, musician, writer, supreme Neoist, saint in the Church of the Subgenius, social and political activist as well as literary critic and philosopher among, certainly, other categorizations.

You can learn more about specifics here http://idioideo.pleintekst.nl/

Still a presence on avant trending cultural scenes, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE has the aura these days of a seasoned, thoughtful intellectual immersed in avant history whose art is built meticulously upon well-conceived ideas. Newer audiences seem unaware of his former, outlaw reputation (authentic radicalism is exceedingly rare in the kultur industry); he has probably been arrested and detained as much, if not more, than any other living performance artist. His kind letter to us reflects his wide-ranging interests:

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And the reverse side of the letter:

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Now back to the Suggestion Box Residue excerpts:

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Pages measure approximately 2 X 3 inches, so the publication is remarkably compact. We are including a section of the introduction, which describes the zine’s concept.

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Here are two examples of pages from the zine with suggestion box material:

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Many thanks to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE for sending Suggestion Box Residue. Here is the cd mentioned in the letter:

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Youtube has a lot of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE material:

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Again, many thanks to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE!

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How To Do A Perfect Trashpo Mailing by Jim Leftwich (Roanoke, Virginia, USA) & John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

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Mail-art by Jim Leftwich (Roanoke, Virginia, USA) & collabs with John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA)

First, there is no right or wrong way to mail Trashpo; the choices rest squarely with the trashpoet. We did receive this incredible mailing from Jesus Jim that we think constitutes a perfect, or near perfect, presentation of Trashpo (one possibility for). In addition to the FAB work, there are many great mailing ideas we would like to share with trashpoets and kulters. As you can see, Trashpo is promoted loudly on the outer envelope (above). As the Trashpo Lexicon says: “Trashpo is the opposite of subtle.”

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Jim Leftwich assembled the mailing, and it contains a huge amount of material, which sends the message trashpoets are generous; and in most situations, trash is a free and renewable resource. The mailing also includes an incredibly generous sampling of vispo collabs by Jim Leftwich and John M. Bennett in the form of TLPs (Tacky Little Pamphlets). This shows that Trashpo is collaborative, and these are wonderful collabs!

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These excellent vispo TLPs work thematically as well because Trashpo, after all, is a form of visual poetry even though text might not necessarily be present. The next piece seems to be trash altered into a TLP by Jim Leftwich. Trashpo – probably due to the DKult influence – sometimes takes on a religious dimension:

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Included in the mailing was a shopping list. The found shopping list – John M. Bennett is often cited as the first to use it in a Trashpo mailing – is one of the most enduring Trashpo poetic forms. You can never go wrong throwing a shopping list in the envelope:

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Many Trashpo mailings include unaltered trash the sender has chosen to share with the recipient. These might be saved by the recipient as art objects or talismans (DKulters especially collect sacred Trashpo objects) or they may be used in a collaborative piece. The use of the trash is left to the receiver, unless instructions are included. Jim Leftwich included a great deal of trash in this mailing:

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Notice the prominence of textual elements in these selections. More FAB Bennett collabs:

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Next is a spontaneous scannerbed composition using trash sent by Jim Leftwich:

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Another amazing Leftwich-Bennett TLP collab:

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We conclude with this fave:

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And this is not everything that was included! We hope you enjoy seeing the work; and if you are a trashpoet, maybe you’ve gotten some mailing ideas!

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.

http://hyperallergic.com/144857/man-vandalizes-jeff-koons-retrospective/

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.

http://animalnewyork.com/2014/istvan-kantor-vandalizes-jeff-koons-exhibit-blood/

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!

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