A Survey of Minimalist Mail-Art: Not Hi Ng (USA), Diane Keys (USA), Eduardo Cardoso (Portugal), Richard Canard (USA) & Carina Granlund (Finland)

Not - hole - 4

Minimalist mail-art by Not Hi Ng (San Pablo, California, USA)

The news that Ugly Duckling Press has released a complete edition of Aram Saroyan’s minimal poems has created excitement in the Eternal Network. Minimalism has always had a presence in the network, due at least in part to the Fluxus influence. The occasion of this rediscovery and interest in Saroyan’s work led us to meditate upon mail-artists who are using minimalism in their current work.

We have three boxes of mail-art beside us, most received in the last six months, that are being prepared for the MinXus archives and/or blogging. We went through this material with an eye to determine which friends are minimalists or incorporating minimalism in their art. We found relatively few, although what we did find was impressive. Almost nothing was found to represent minimalism as it appears in the visual arts. The minimal work we found tended to be visual poetry; of course we receive a great deal of visual poetry.

The following is a collection of minimalist mail-art received. In some cases, we have added scans of earlier work to provide depth and context.

Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

The expansive Queen of Trash and DKult icon, when we took a closer look, is also an accomplished minimalist. We were surprised to find just how often minimalist use of text appears in her work. Here is an example of recent work received:

DK - 1.29.2014 - 1

The reverse side:

DK - 1.29. 2014 - 2

Eduardo Cardoso (Sines, Portugal)

Eduardo Cardoso is well-known as an accomplished visual poet, and much of this work is minimalist. He founded the popular Minimal Mail Art group at the IUOMA. We have not received minimal work from Eduardo recently. An envelope containing Trashpo does reveal his method of using small fragments of text:

Eduardo - 1.29.2014

Examples from the archives provide more examples:

Eduardo - 10.3 - 2


Eduardo Cardoso (circa 2011)

Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Many are familiar with Richard Canard’s mail-art meditations that appear like compacted essays on postcards. He is also a consistent and adept minimalist who sometimes shows the influence of Aram Saroyan. Richard is prolific and we are thrilled to be able to share with you some excellent examples, including what appears to a series or variations on a theme:

Canard - 1.29.2014 - 1

The reverse side:

Canard - 1.29.2014 - 2

Canard - 1.29.2014  - 3

Richard Canard (2013)

Canard - 1.29.2014 - 4

Richard Canard (2013)

Canard - 1.29.2014  - 5

Richard Canard (2013)

Canard - 1.29.2014 - 6

Richard Canard (2013)

Carina Granlund (Petsmo, Finland)

Recent work received served as a reminder to us that Carina Granlund consistently uses minimalism, especially on her envelopes. This work involves the use of tape. We found some examples in blog scan files:

Carina Granlund - 1

Carina Granlund (circa 2012)

Carina - interactive - 2

Carina Granlund

Carina - 3

Carina Granlund (circa 2012)

While minimalism might not be trending in the network right now, it appears to be alive and well, especially in the vispo area. Many thanks to the minimalists for their great work!


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