MinXus Mail Bag: On Bad Poetry: Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands), Maria Morisot/Moan Lisa (Iowa City, Iowa, USA), Richard Canard (Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

This Richard Canardesque card we received from Ruud Janssen is very thought provoking in terms of some of the Eternal Networkers whose work we follow closely. Specifically, Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA) has founded the Museum of Bad Mail Art (MOBMA), which is very popular and consistently attracts work. Moan Lisa is currently inhabiting the Maria Marisot identity (Iowa City, Iowa, USA). Moan-Maria has a particular genius for founding movements and issuing mail art calls that generate widespread interest and responses. One of them is Bad Poetry:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/853769131332573/

http://iuoma-network.ning.com/group/badpoetry

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We greatly appreciate more DKULTN and Trashpo stamps, and Trashpo is relevant to the current discussion. But back to the main topic: We have kept some distance from both the Bad Poetry and Bad Mail Art calls because we are perplexed about defining what is “good” and what is “bad” in the context of mail art, especially when anti-art and found art are factored in. We are not against Bad Poetry or MOBMA; we are just confused. Ruud Janssen’s card suggests to us that we are not the only ones trying to define “bad poetry.” Is it good bad poetry? Is it bad good poetry? We do not know. We do know we are pleased to receive a great deal of poetry from Moan-Maria. But is it good? Is it bad?

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Mail art by Maria Morisot (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

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Mail art (plasticized) by Moan Lisa-Maria Morisot (Iowa City, Iowa, USA)

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We can offer no insight in terms of helping to identify bad art or bad poetry. Perhaps the insinuation of the question is what is important. We will, however, conclude with the insights of Richard Canard that often address these issues:

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

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Many thanks to Ruud Janssen, Maria Morisot, Moan Lisa and Richard Canard.

MinXus Mail Bag: The new issue of “Flummox – A Journal of Extinction” is here by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

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Mail art by David Stafford (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA)

Actually it is not a journal; it is a large postcard-size piece from David Stafford that looks like a journal cover. We are thrilled to receive mail from David. We learned through the grapevine he made a trip to New York City not long ago. Perhaps that excursion inspired him to make this commentary on the condition of the (post-) avant. From his perspective, the future is not bright. We tend to agree that most of the current tepid avant posturing we see seems like a eulogy delivered by an Assistant Professor of Medieval Studies at a poorly attended funeral.

If we wrote that David Stafford is the unquestionable reigning king of mail art satire, we might offend the sensibilities of egalitarian networkers who do not believe such value judgments should be uttered or proposed. FLUMMOX – A JOURNAL OF EXTINCTION addresses numerous publications, both online and off, that present what some call “intermedia” work, along with theoretical commentary. The overlaid letters on the image strongly suggest, of course, visual poetry aka vispo. Flummox contains the word “flux,” so David Stafford has made a sweeping inventory ranging from vispo to Fluxus. These various iterations of the post-avant are currently fashionable in and outside the Eternal Network. Too bad he did not work Oulipo in there – that one is especially trendy! While Fluxus is part of history, it is certainly enjoying a revival.

As if FLUMMOX – A JOURNAL OF EXTINCTION were not enough, the reverse side has David Stafford’s wonderful drawing and more humor:

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David Stafford always provides perspective, a dash of common sense and gales of laughter. As ever, many thanks!

MinXus Mail Bag: Pan-demonium from Mark Bloch (New York City, USA)

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Mail art by Mark Bloch aka Pan (New York City)

(Part I)

Mark Bloch is a veteran mail artist who needs no introduction to those familiar with the Eternal Network. If you are a Tenderfoot who has not yet made his acquaintance, then we are thrilled to have this opportunity to share his work with you (in several installments). First, Mark Bloch’s website is a fantastic resource:

http://www.panmodern.com/Ray.html

http://www.panmodern.com/home.html

http://www.panmodern.com/neoism-intro.html

He generously sent us a hefty envelope packed with articles and artwork spanning different stages of his career. Here is a FAB piece he sent from the time of his involvement in the global art strike of the early 90s, which was closely connected to the network:

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Mark Bloch has an incredible knowledge of mail art history. We believe he is a vitally important figure – even if controversial and sometimes vexing – on the current scene. After all, he helped shape that history and witnessed it firsthand. Additionally, he is an excellent writer. We were thrilled he sent us this piece on mail art history:

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We think this is a must-read piece for mail artists, especially those involved in IUOMA-Ning discussions attempting to define mail art and Ray Johnson’s connection to it. As some of our readers have no doubt observed at other venues, Mark Bloch’s views on the current situation of Fluxus in the mail art network (as well as newer generation artists who call themselves Fluxus) can and do generate heated debate. We will not attempt an analysis of this complex situation, but we will share an erasure piece Mark Bloch sent. The Fluxus naming controversy provides, we believe, important context for the piece:

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(Click to enlarge)

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In our view, a fantastic (and incredibly humorous) erasure. Another piece from the package:

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And the reverse:

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Our deepest thanks to Mark Bloch for sending all this great material! Watch for more installments in the days ahead…

Three Concrete Poems by Dark wall – concrete poetry, visual poetry

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MinXus Mail Bag: Trashpo & DKULTN Stamps + Vispo by Ruud Janssen, Breda, Netherlands)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

Trashpoets, DKulters, Tenderfoots and other interested parties already know Ruud Janssen’s amazing stamps (above) are now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Congratulations to Ruud Janssen and all others who participate in IUOMA (International Union of Mail Artists) and Trashpo. You are part of the historical record! We are absolutely thrilled to have received signed copies of the stamps for the MinXus archives.

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Also included in the missive was an original vispo cut-up:

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The envelope is in keeping with the stamp theme:

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And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Ruud Janssen!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Digital Asemics” by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

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Mail art by Ruud Janssen (Breda, Netherlands)

As his letter below explains, Ruud Janssen recently has had a very productive, creative phase. Many networkers are receiving some great mail as a result, including his renowned, hand-painted envelopes. We are fortunate indeed to be among the recipients. In the days ahead, we will share some incredible work from Ruud Janssen, interspersed with material from our other faithful correspondents.

This first posting is a Ruud Janssen foray into asemics. These days the asemic designation is hotly debated in some circles (and accepted wholeheartedly in others). The contention centers around not the quality of the work being produced under the asemic moniker but what to call it and how to view it. Designations include asemic writing, asemic art and pansemics. Some insist this kind of work is abstract art, calligraphy, automatic writing or visual poetry; leave the asemic or pansemic part out of it. At least some of the confusion is derived, we believe, from the fact that asemics bridge the boundaries between traditional literary and visual arts. Asemics are “intermedia” or at least conducive to that concept.

What we know is that we like this piece by Ruud Janssen very much. It is rooted in calligraphy. We accept the asemic concept as being theoretically sound and valid, so we believe this piece is asemic. Placing it in that context enhances interpretive possibilities. The piece is asemic in the sense that the cursive shapes suggest language but fall into the realm of the incomprehensible. The work cannot be “read” in the way we would read text; however, that does not negate the possibility that a viewer can find meaning.

A great deal of asemic writing is being produced by mail artists and circulated in the network. The IUOMA is one center of activity for this production. The IUOMA brand of asemics (because members tend to influence each other to a great degree) is  in actuality a visual poetry-asemic writing hybrid. This work Ruud Janssen sent is a very good example of the asemic-vispo hybrid, even though it retains his very recognizable style.

This work also has a logical place among the “mind maps” Ruud Janssen has been creating during the recent surge. These mind maps are meditations on mail art and its relation to art movements and technology. The ability of this work to communicate on a rhetorical level is based imagery (written text and computer components primarily) and thus the work has a correspondence to visual poetry as well as the asemic.

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This new wave from the Netherlands is being circulated in the beautiful hand-painted envelopes that already have a near-legendary status in the Eternal Network.

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And the reverse:

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Deepest thanks to Ruud Janseen. Stay tuned for more soon!

 

MinXus Mail Bag: Triple Feature w/ Mars Tokyo, Richard Canard and Thomas Brown (USA)

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Mail at by Mars Tokyo (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

We are thrilled to be able to share more pieces from Mars Tokyo’s breathtaking Fluxus series. We are deeply appreciative that she was kind enough to send us more wonderful pieces. The detail is extraordinary.

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And the second card:

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The reverse:

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Now we unveil two pieces recently received from Richard Canard:

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

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Richard Canard has been lobbying for a Ray Johnson stamp for a long time. Then a second piece, which is a form of recycled mail art:

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Note the time delay on this piece.

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Always FAB to hear from Richard. Thomas Brown, working through some Freudian stage, sent us an interesting variant on another piece recently received:

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Mail art by Thomas Brown (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

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Thanks to the artists for sending this wonderful work!

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