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: Schwitterspo by Eric Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

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Mail art by Erica Durante (Waldwick, New Jersey, USA)

Erica Durante is an awesome correspondent, especially given her gargantuan responsibilities as President of DKult New Jersey (DKULTJER).

So far this summer she has sent us two pieces we are thrilled to share today. The first (above) is mounted on sturdy cardboard. Eric Durante has ventured squarely into the textual-visual realm (and makes an additional connection to music) with both pieces. There is certainly an emphasis on materiality.

Lately in Trashpo circles, there have been discussions about the influence of Kurt Schwitters. Indeed claims have been made Schwitters is the true “Godfather of Trashpo.” A certain faction of trashpoets see themselves aligned with and pledge allegiance to Schwitters, sometimes disavowing other historical connections. Discussions about the relation of Schwitters to Trashpo are not new. Some time ago we proposed the term “Schwitterspo” be adopted as a subset of Trashpo to accommodate this group of Kurt fans, although DKult can never be DKurt.

We are not suggesting Erica Durante is making a conscious homage to Kurt Schwitters and Schwitterspo in these pieces, yet artists frequently channel ideas that are “in the air.” This great mail art builds upon a rich avant tradition from the 20th century that owes a great deal to Schwitters. Erica Durante brings it into the 21st century and makes it uniquely her own.

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An earlier piece received from Erica Durante uses her file card approach but also has the Schwitterspo tonality:

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And the reverse:

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Thanks as ever to Erica Durante.

MinXus Mail Bag: Doodle Therapy for the Great Confusion by Chepin (San Franciso, California, USA)

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Mail art by Chepin (San Francisco, California, USA)

Chepin’s reputation as a gifted and active correspondence artist precedes – in our awareness – her arrival upon our most humble blog. We were surprised and very glad to receive this wonderful postcard-size piece from her. We are equally excited to share it with Tenderfoots. We are not sure about a horizontal or vertical presentation, but we like this angle best. Her kind notes on the reverse side add some interesting information:

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Chepin is a member of the All Things Trashpo group at IUOMA-Ning, which geographically places her in DKULTNOCAL territory. We believe it is possible that this work, then, takes some inspiration from the doodle therapy developed by Diane Keys (Illinois, USA) and Rebecca Guyver (Suffolk, UK). Doodling is prevalent in Trashpo circles these days. Is it possible there was some thought of asemic writing on Chepin’s part? We would not rule it out. The work is at least asemic suggestive.

We will add Chepin’s work as a most original example to the contemporary doodle canon. As for the Great Confusion: That is a term associated with a number of cultural, religious and even political events. We have used it specifically in reference to Neoism. Perhaps Chepin is making that association as well.

Welcome and deepest thanks to Chepin for beautiful and intriguing mail art as well as cryptic and intriguing messages.

MinXus Mail Bag: The Opposite of Trashpo or the Gina Ulgen Fan Club (Norwich, Norfolk, UK)

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Mail art by Gina Ulgen (Norwich, Norfolk, UK)

Gina Ulgen has distinguished herself in mail art with contributions to DKULTUK. Now, an ambitious edition she has released into the network separates her from the trashpack and – if there were ever any doubt – confirms her standing as a highly original collage artist. This “let them eat cake” piece is ubiquitous these days and is receiving high praise. All the same, we will share the copy we received (14/50). We are thrilled that Gina Ulgen kindly thought of us. Visual puns highlight her wry humor:

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Gina Ulgen included a card with a note:

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She makes a reference to the Postage Due Club:

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We do not believe Gina Ulgen is a member of the Postage Due Club and thus has not burdened us with financial obligations (as did Diane Keys for no less than an entire year). This mail art package has a wonderful consistency throughout in terms of aesthetic choices, tone and theme:

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And the reverse:

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Many thanks to Gina Ulgen!

MinXus Mail Bag: “Shower” by Monsenhor enVide neFelibata (Porto, Portugal)

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Mail art by Monsenhor enVide neFelibata (Porto, Portugal)

We extend a big “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake to Monsenhor enVide neFelibata who makes his first appearance on our humble blog with this fabulous print he so kindly sent us.

Monsenhor enVide neFelibata is a talented artist who, based on his commentary, is more interested in the fine art aspects of the Eternal Network than, for instance, the performance dimension or Trashpo. We are certainly thrilled to have this example of his work!! But we also note that in this and in other works of his we have seen, we detect a sense of humor, iconoclastic tendencies and some movement toward conceptualism. In short, he has the ability (and is) working in a wide range of styles and orientations.

One of the main attractions of “Shower” is the superb guilding, which we do not believe we were able to adequately capture in a scan. Fortunately, Monsenhor enVide neFelibata has an excellent blog where this edition is documented:

http://envidenefelibata.blogspot.com/2015/08/laser-printed-and-hand-gilded-set-of-20.html

This card was also included in the envelope:

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And the envelope:

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Many thanks to enVide neFelibata!

MinXus Mail Bag: Collaborative DKult Narrative by res and Tammy Riggins (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

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Mail art by res including stamp by Tammy Riggins (Clarksville, Tennessee, USA)

“Trashpo has no future, only a present.”

– Diane Keys

Of course the reigning Queen of Trash Diane Keys never said that; it is a reworking of a quote appropriated from Ray Johnson and altered. The fraudulent quote is, however, an authentic example of the “collaborative narrative” that drives DKult as a mail art activity.

res, a gifted network newcomer who seeks to stay under the radar on the internet (thus the lack of personal info), took to the DKult collective narrative like, as they say, a duck to water with this wonderful, large collage she sent us. In a kind note she informed us: “The center bunny stamp is by Tammy Riggins. She gave me permission to reuse it.” So both res and Tammy Riggins have contributed to the lore of DKult. We want to take this opportunity to extend a biggy “Howdy” and a secret MinXus handshake to both res and Tammy who make on this eventful day their first appearance upon our humble blog.

We are always thrilled to have new artists who are not “insiders” contribute to the DKult narrative. Trashpo is a form of visual poetry made with found material. That requires little explanation and anyone can do it. DKult, we gather, is more mystifying to the uninitiated. Really, it is the equivalent of one of the many mail art fan clubs built around people, objects, activities, etc. For instance, the IUOMA has a Richard Canard Fan Club as well as a Moan Lisa Fan Club. We might have called it the DKFC (Diane Keys Fan Club) only it would be associated with fried chicken and The Colonel (just joking).

DKult differs from a regular fan club due to the “collaborative narrative” where any participant can – in any way they want – contribute to the story of the past, present and future of DKult. This experiment has been going on for five years now with spectacular results and many, many contributions. Unfortunately, the narrative has become so complex, convoluted and contradictory that it is nearly impossible to follow. That probably contributes to the current state of confusion. We have a huge cast of characters, some actual people, some fictional, and some – we are not sure.

res does blaze new trails here, taking DKult back to medieval times. No one has done this before. We have in other DKult narratives references to the Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash in the 1940s and DK’s psychic ancestors in Russia at the time of Rasputin but nothing further back, as far as we know. We have a clandestine organization named T.O.X.I.S. bent on the destruction of DKult (for some reason) and a place in Mexico called The Clinic where maybe you have been but do not remember. res has also created a work dense with arcane symbols, anachronisms and floating signifiers, which all are staples of the DKult narrative. It is a great contribution.

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Deepest thanks to res and Tammy Riggins!

MinXus Mail Bag: Walmarth Advertising Supplement by Cascadia Artpost (Olympia, Washington, USA) with Mail Art Martha (Beckenham, UK)

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Mail art by Cascadia Artpost aka Jack Lattemann (Olympia, Washington, USA) based on art and concepts by Mail Art Martha (Beckenham, UK) and Diane Keys (Elgin, Illinois, USA)

Cascadia Artpost has helped realize the artistic visions of Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys through marvelous models and now an incredible publication which is currently circulating in the Eternal Network.

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Trashpo and DKult have always promoted an ideology of anti-consumerism and pro-recycling. Trashpo is, after all, a form of recycling. Mail Art Martha was well-known in the network for her trash trolley and use of found material long before she joined forces with DKult. She has helped make DKULTUK one of the best known and most innovative DKult chapters in the world. Mail Art Martha’s Walmarth Corporation is an entertaining and witty parody of corporate, consumer culture. Cascadia Artpost’s painstaking realization of Mail Art Martha’s ideas through detailed, special effects style models makes Walmarth Corporation one of the crowning achievements of Trashpo in the half-decade that it has been producing a large quantity of art.

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For those who believe Trashpo is simply collecting candy bar wrappers on the street and mailing them to people, Cascadia Artpost and Mail Art Martha reveal that the practice yields a wide variety of literary and visual creations. All that is required is imagination. The center section of the Walmarth Advertising Supplement includes usable stickers:

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Both Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys have created numerous Trashpo devices and inventions. Cascadia Artpost references these in the publication and offers new products as well.

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Diane Keys has proposed ideas for a Trashpo and DKult economy aka the D-Konomy, although the specifics of the program are not entirely clear at this time.

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And the back cover of the Walmarth Advertising Supplement:

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We have no doubt that this ingenious work by Cascadia Artpost is one of the great achievements of Trashpo and is destined for a place in Eternal Network history. We also applaud the collaborative nature of the work, which integrates and acknowledges the contributions of Mail Art Martha and Diane Keys, among others.

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