1962 | 2022 | 60 YEARS OF MAIL ART   

Mail Art Exhibition by Ruggero Maggi and Italian Post
Saronno Post Office

DECEMBER 17, 2022  |  JANUARY 21, 2023
INAUGURATION Saturday 17 December 2022 at 10.00
On Saturday 17 December at 10.00 a.m. will be inaugurated at the Saronno Post Office. Speakers will be D.ssa Annamaria Gallo Philately Representative Macro North West AreaLorellaGiudici (Art Historian and Professor Brera Academy, Milano) and Ruggero Maggi (artist and curator).

In 1962 Mail Art, quintessence of creative communication and forerunner of recent social networks, was born. Hundreds of artists have operated within this artistic, poetic and social phenomenon since its first appearance, promoting an infinite variety of projects all over the world, in which protagonist is the interrelationship between sender, receiver and sent object

Futurism and Dadaism can undoubtedly be considered the historical antecedents of this form of artistic communication, as well as the work of Kurt Schwitters, creator of the first works made with stamps and the advent, in the mid-1950s, of the Fluxus research with the work of artists such as Joseph Beuys, Ray Johnson, George Maciunas, Ken Friedman, Ben Vautier and some artists and theorists of French New Realism such as Yves Klein and Pierre Restany. Ray Johnson defined as “the most famous unknown artist of New York” – founded in 1962 the New York Correspondence School (so defined by Ed Plunkett) and is considered the creator of Mail Art, term coined by the curator and art critic Jean-Marc Poinsot.

In the mid-1970s Ray Johnson involved me by sending me some photos of him, which I in turn processed and sent to other postal artists inviting them to intervene and disseminate them, following the RJ’s basic idea “ADD & RETURN”. Since then these fantastic images have traveled all over the world and some, after all these years, still return home (!) and are now presented in full in this exhibition for the first time. Last summer part of these works collected in my Amazon archive were exhibited in the Ophen Virtual Art Gallery space in Salerno.

But who was Ray Johnson? Maria Ilario, director of the Ray Johnson Archive, in an interview edited by Leda Cempellin (Professor of Art History at South Dakota State University in the USA) published in the Italian art magazine Juliet describes him thus: “It is difficult to fully define him because new information is still being uncovered. His ability to create so many networks and produce interactions between them fascinated me. Johnson’s mind was like a computer; it worked rapidly […]”. When asked to describe RJ’s dark side and his end in Long Island, New York (where R.J. committed suicide by jumping off a bridge in 1995) and whether it what happened was a performance, or rather a suicide, Mrs. Ilario replies: “It was both a performance and it was a suicide. Our collection has many objects that discuss death, correspondence with declares “the death of the New York Correspondence School” and his book “A Book About Death”… He had a fascination with death”.

Unfortunately for all of us Ray Johnson left us too soon, but his innovative and provocative ideas continue to develop through the work of many artists in every part of the Earth. As we know, ideas, the good ones, survive forever. What better occasion, here, to launch the idea of the M.A.D. (Mail Art Day): an international day dedicated to Mail Art on October 16th, the birthday of our great friend and … coincidentally mine too!

1962 | 2022 | 60 YEARS OF MAIL ART
by Ruggero Maggi and Italian Post
Mail Art Exhibition

Saronno Post Office
Via Varese 130

DECEMBER 17, 2022  |  JANUARY 21, 2023
INAUGURATION Saturday 17 December 2022 at 10.00

hours | from Monday to Friday 8.30 – 18.30 | Saturday 10.00 – 12.00




Author: Mail Artists' Index

Mail Artists' Index Biographies, works and links concerning important Mail Artists. – Biografien, Arbeiten und Links bedeutender Mail Art Künstler. Mail Art | Mail Artists | Postkunst

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