MinXus Mail Bag: The Richard Canard Report (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

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Mail-art by Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

Tenderfoots know (some of you correspond with him) that Richard Canard is as generous as he is prolific. We really need to develop a more consistent template for sharing his work received. In this blog, you see some gems received mostly during this summer. We are honored to have for the MinXus archives this exhibition announcement from the seventies he sent us. “Richard C.” (this is becoming his internet moniker) photos are scarce so the curious and/or fanatical will be interested in this rare shot. Here is the reverse:

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Some people say we are far too fanatical ourselves about categorizing work received. Yet we cannot resist commenting upon the way Richard Canard effortlessly employs different styles, genres and forms that suit his choice of content. Take, for example, this minimalist piece:

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We contend that, unless you are born with the gift or develop the skill through hard work, minimalism is far more difficult than it appears. Richard Canard is able to shift effortlessly  from the verbose (the term not used as a criticism here) to the minimal. A literary theorist friend once hammered into our minds the importance of identifying “surplus signification,” which is some sort of linguistic equivalent to “surplus labor.” Yet this piece in no way sacrifices wordplay and irony for economy. In fact, a significant amount of minimalist work is represented in the Canard canon. The reverse side offers more information about this piece:

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Thus it is revealed that the foundation of this mail-art is material from Hallmark Cards: found material. With the crisis (we will call it that for mail-art) in postage costs, postcards have become a dominant form on the current scene. The tension between mail-art with its roots in conceptual art and commercial greeting cards, identified in this work, is an issue worth meditation and discussion. Mail-art would seem completely an opposition to commercialized sentiment and images manufactured for profit. Yet, does much mail-art today seek to mimic successful greeting cards rather than fulfill artistic vision or discover new forms of expression?

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His correspondents also know that Richard Canard’s commentary ranges from the topical to “eternal truths” (supposedly) found in art and literature.  We especially enjoyed this piece on armed postal workers. Is it just us or have other mail-artists in the USA noticed a massive build-up highly militarized police and related government employees? We read and hear people talking about a “police state.” What’s up with that? Remember: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

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We close this humble blog with another installment from Richard Canard’s “LIFE” series. We view these pieces as a serial, epical, mail-art visual poem:

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Upon receiving this piece, we must place Richard C. on our list of favorite artists who have done some outstanding Gutai work in recent memory: Wendy A. Rogers (Maryland, USA) and meeah williams (New York, USA). The Gutai aesthetic includes the palpable deterioration, decomposition or decay of the art (ideally by natural forces). Deconstruction of cultural “texts” by figures such as Jacques Derrida is a more abstract and willful decomposition, but we ponder if it has affinities to Gutai.  Many of Richard’s efforts are deconstructionist as well.

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Taking a Tom Sawyer approach, Richard Canard collaborates with time and silverfish to create this section of the “LIFE” epic.

As ever, deepest thanks and best regards to our faithful correspondent, Richard Canard.


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