Mail art by Lucky Pierre (Charleston, South Carolina, USA)
We open with this compelling self portrait Lucky Pierre sent us even though it is secondary to the concept that unites the components of this extraordinary piece of mail art. The image seems destined to become iconic. The art, however, is about sharks and seas, emanating outward from a single object (or talisman):
Yes, that is an authentic shark tooth, an unlikely choice to inspire a piece of conceptual art (although Damien Hirst worked in this area on a different scale). The tooth is mounted on one of two pieces of thick cardboard that seem – along with the other contents of the envelope – to want to be part of a boekie. But the pieces remain loose and thus are like ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). Here is the reverse side:
Here is the second card:
The slips of paper, when removed from the pocket, correspond to the theme.
The opposite side is blank. Like an earlier piece Lucky Pierre sent us, a paper clasp is included to hold the material together:
A narrative is provided by Lucky Pierre:
A great drawing on the other side:
This is very much “classic” and complex mail art. Some of the deeply thoughtful pieces made by CrackerJack Kid (Chuck Welch) involving the relationship of multiple objects come to mind as a comparison. This locates Lucky Pierre’s work in the conceptual art-based, Ray Johnson lineage. Yet this work is not simply a retro throwback to 70s and 80s styles. It reflects contemporary mail art as well with its links to folk art and representation. While Trashpo draws from anti-art and often invokes disruption with assemblages of incongruous objects, Lucky Pierre’s work seeks to construct a narrative, although complete coherence and closure are not achieved. The work is, then, more surrealist than DaDa. Most traditional mail art, ultimately, is rooted in DaDa. Lucky Pierre, we believe, has managed to create something appealing and interesting while embracing some conventions and discarding others. The piece is not an attempt to make mail art as it “should be” but a genuine human expression unafraid to approach the intangible.
And the other side: