MinXus Mail Bag: Vispo Collabs by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

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Mail art by Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

This summer we received two large packages of mail art from visual poet Jim Leftwich in Roanoke, the first of which (chronologically) we are documenting in this blog. The vast majority of the pieces are collaborations between Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow. (The exception is one very interesting asemic work at the end.) According to Facebook, Evan Damerow resides in New Zealand. His work was unknown to us before the arrival of this missive.

While Jim Leftwich seems to us inclined toward the prolific naturally, we attribute some of this outpouring of work this summer to the 2015 Marginal Arts Festival. The event seems to have been a great success and a perusal of the documentation will be rewarding to Tenderfoots, no doubt:

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The Anti-Brain Rot mail art call and exhibition also accompanied the festival, which occurred in July (2015). Here is some partial documentation of the entries via C. Mehrl Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA):

https://cmehrlbennett.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/the-anti-brain-rot-mailart-exhibit/

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Unless otherwise indicated, all the pieces shown here are Jim Leftwich-Evan Damerow collabs.

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These Leftwich-Damerow collabs hold specific interest to the trashpoets and D-Kulters in the network (many of whom are rabid followers of our humble blog), as Jim Leftwich is acknowledged as having created some of the earliest Trashpo (2005). These pieces (the current work shown here) use found material, have the organic structure so recognizable in most Trashpo and also show the anti-art stance and the On the Road spontaneity of Trashpo composition.

Trashpo is a form of visual poetry. (Many current practitioners are either unaware of or disregard this fact). The pieces documented here make abundant and innovative use of text, text-image associations and juxtapositions, cut up, disruption, asemics and other approaches that are related to poetry and the poetic as well as the tenets of Trashpo rather than mere collage. In short, they are excellent examples. The work transcends Trashpo in many ways yet still offers insights into Trashpo theory and practice for the working trashpoet.

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A bonus in the package was the piece below: “Spirit Writing” by Jim Leftwich (1997), a piece of historical significance because it was made so early in the context of the current thriving and burgeoning asemic movement. Jim Leftwich, however, and as many know, has reservations concerning the use of the term “asemic” and having his own work labeled as asemic writing. So we encourage Tenderfoots to consider the perspective of visual poetry here, although we believe the tide of history is very likely to identify Jim Leftwich as an asemic writer (among other designations):

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A closer look:

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Many thanks to Jim Leftwich and Evan Damerow!

MinXus Mail Bag: Correspondence Art by Thomas “Space Monkey” Brown (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

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

Thomas Brown continues to perfect his visual-textual mail art in the tradition of Richard Canard (USA), David Stafford (USA) and perhaps even Ben Vautier (France). From our perspective, Thomas Brown seems to be gaining growing recognition for his humor that, at times, crosses into avant territory. Or at least he uses avant devices with alacrity when it suits his purpose. We are glad we remain on his mailing list and have these two (fairly) recent pieces to share. Here is the reverse side:

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An engaging Thomas Brown persona is emerging as well. Mail art has certainly produced a cast of memorable characters, most of them partly fictional and partly based on genuinely eccentric artistic personalities. Thomas Brown joins the ranks.

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Some Tenderfoots might wonder why we have nicknamed Thomas Brown “Space Monkey.” If recollection serves, it is based on a comment he posted on Facebook saying he wanted to be an astronaut. Commentary progressed from that starting point. In short, trust us. The “Space Monkey” moniker is perfect.

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Many thanks to Thomas “Space Monkey” Brown!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Love is Blind” by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

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Mail art by the Blessed Father (San Diego, California, USA)

We have received two fantastic mail art communications from the Blessed Father and his Church of the Right Now, which we have been slow to document due to a general piling up of material at the bottom of the mail bag and the slow summer months. So we extend our apologies to the Blessed Father and other Tenderfoots who, no doubt, daily await the appearance of their work upon our humble blog.

This first piece by the Blessed Father is a conventional-size postcard with some very unconventional material. Sometimes we wonder if our correspondence with this So Cal Holy Roller will result in a shared cell in the Big House. (Suggesting last year that we were “weed” farmers on a very loud envelope had us a bit skittish.)

We can always plead, protest and generally fall back upon the argument that what the Blessed Father is doing is “art.” We believe it is and have – in our West Coast Mail Artist Survey – identified him as an important contemporary figure. One of the Blessed Father’s special talents (in addition to finding excellent models) is stamp making. The reverse side of the card showcases his skill:

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Given the elements of the mail art genre, the persona of the Blessed Father is nearly as important as the art. The Blessed Father is an engaging – and enduring – character. His antics and the Church of Right Now provide numerous narratives that at their core satirize Evangelical Christianity and reveal the all too abundant hypocrisy attached to it. The Blessed Father’s “schtick” indeed seems timeless and (no pun intended) bottomless in terms of rich material. The Blessed Father joins the Church of the Subgenius and more recently DKult along with dozens of other lesser known ranters and temples that form the curious world of mail art religions and philosophies.

Confusion exists concerning the relationship of the Church of the Subgenius and Neoism since they both blossomed in the mail art network at roughly the same time. They were two separate entities on one level, no question. Yet they were also intertwined on a more practical level. For instance, Neoist tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE was named a saint in the Church and a number of his historic performances took place at Church-sponsored events. Thus, the “multiple user identity” concept as well as less noble and artistic scams to raise money involving fake religious groups and scholarship funds seamlessly passed from Neoism to the Church of the Subgenius. This strengthened the already strong tendency in mail art to invent imaginary people, places and organizations. The Blessed Father is a contemporary manifestation right down to his use of a costume.

In a second package, the Blessed Father kindly sent us a T-shirt and we have scanned the primary image on the front:

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The shirt is very high quality. The image, based on the date and subject matter, suggests some earlier iteration of the Blessed Father persona and narrative. R. Crumb comes to mind. The evolution of the Blessed Father from earlier, underground mail art (now very much a vestige of the past) is apparent in this amazing piece. The envelope is a stamp masterpiece:

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Note the nod to “Bob” Dobbs of the Church of the Subgenius. Here is a detail scan of a few of the stamps:

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Deepest thanks, as ever, to the Blessed Father.

 

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…

MinXus Mail Bag: Subscription Opus by Jude Weirmeir (San Diego, California, USA)

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Mail art by Jude Weirmeir (San Diego, California, USA)

We have received some absolutely marvelous pieces by Jude Weirmeir, including the FAB issue #49 of his Subscription Opus zine. Understandably, this amazing issue has attracted attention and garnered praise elesewhere. So we will share the covers and not attempt a full scale, digital reproduction of the contents. The issue is a three-dimensional, accordion maze that also serves as a musical score.

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To learn more, we direct you to the Jude Weirmeir Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/jude.weirmeir

And another link:

http://www.villamusica.org/faculty-weirmeir/

More mail from Jude Weirmeir!

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The other side:

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We have also received, so far, six postcards that are part of another Subscription Opus, this time a puzzle-score. Jude Weirmeir is doing some remarkably innovative work combining music composition and the conceptual wing of mail art.

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On the reverse sides:

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Two more:

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Many thanks to Jude Weirmeir for this very innovative work!

Mail Art Call by Jim Leftwich for Roanoke/Collab Fest – Deadline Approaching! (Roanoke, Virginia, USA)

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Some Tenderfoots know him simply as “Jesus Jim,” inventor of Trashpo.

Others know him as Jim Leftwich, a visual poet and theorist of great distinction. Regardless, if you visit our humble blog then you are called upon to send mail art to this year’s event in Virginia, which is associated with the former Marginal Arts Festival.

Note that the deadline is June 27, 2015!

MAF

422 Walnut SE#2

Roanoke, VA 24014-USA

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For more information:

http://postneoabsurdism.blogspot.com/

MinXus Mail Bag: “I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green” says Sinclair Scripa (Ludlow, Vermont, USA)

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Mail art by Sinclair Scripa (Ludlow, Vermont, USA)

Not since the days when folks such as Blaster Al and David Zack mailed out fake solicitations for disabled children’s scholarship funds in order to raise beer money do we actually know of anyone who has donated real money to a mail art charity scam – until now. Tenderfoot Sinclair Scripa – aka Tanya – a winner of the Who Has The Best Hair Contest no less – has made a contribution to KDJ’s liver transplant fund, which of course is a fiction. We are confident “Tanya” knows this and the dollar is really being donated for artistic purposes. And Tanya freed herself from more worldly burdens:

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Tanya is making a reference here to the “Send Ca$h” internet scam currently being run by former Neoist Stewart Home. Again, the scam being run by Stewart Home, we are confident, is performance art, as is Tanya’s response displayed upon our humble blog.

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We are not entirely sure that this mailing does not constitute some sort of paid advertising upon our humble blog. So we leave it to you, dear Tenderfoots, to compose disclaimers in your fertile minds. Sinclair Scripa-Tanya included a charming, crumpled, slightly non-linear rant involving Moan Lisa and some dolls:

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Some wonderful art is found on the reverse side:

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Here is another lovely piece by Sinclair Scripa:

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We removed a rubber whoopee cushion that was attached because we felt it did not meet our standards of decorum.

Note: Due to complaints received, a scan of the whoopee cushion included in the mailing is now added:

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The painted envelope is excellent as well:

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Sinclair Scripa-Tanya uses the envelope as a place to celebrate the great (sadly deceased) Russian mail artist Pig DaDa.

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Many thanks to Tanya!

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