This weekend Visual Aids’ 15th annual Postcards from the Edge Benefit opens in New York City. Postcard sized original works of art by both established and emerging artists are on sale for $85 each. Here’s the fun thing. All the work is hung anonymously, the artist is only revealed to you after your purchase, so someone is going home with a John Baldessari original for 85 bucks.
Over the years 15,000 pieces have been made and donated to this event, raising close to $600,000. All proceeds go to Visual AIDS, an arts organization that “utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over. Visual AIDS is the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness through producing and presenting visual art projects, while assisting artists living with HIV/AIDS.”
Hosted by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery at 530 West 22nd Street on Saturday, January 26, from 10 am- 6 pm and Sunday, January 27, from 12 pm- 4 pm.
Its going to be a great year for mail. I can feel it. The 2013 stamps show alot of promise, including these apple postcard stamps.
Speaking of postcards, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was the book, The Postcard Age. It is a phenomenal survey of postcard art from the turn of the last century, when a “postcard craze” swept the globe. The images in the book are beautiful and bizarre. I’ll leave the bizarre to your imagination but here is an example of beauty:
The book is a companion to The Postcard Age exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which is up until April 14, 2013. Go see the real postcards up close!
One of the pleasures of this VSM hobby/passion/practice is that some of the adults in my life send very creative mail to my children. Our mailbox is a fun place where paper surprises appear.
Gifted illustrator and nature observer, Beatrix Potter, began many of her now famous children’s books as fun mail. She wrote and drew picture letters to children of friends and family members. Later she borrowed back these letters and used them as the inspiration for books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was published in 1902.
Beatrix Potter: The Picture Letters is on exhibit at the Morgan Library in Manhattan until January 27, 2013. There is a reading area of Potter’s books so bring a kid along! You can view examples on the Morgan Library’s online exhibition.
I went to the Whitney Biennial this past weekend with my honey. I was a bit overwhelmed by the size of the show and it took me a little while to acclimate to being there. It didn’t help that everywhere I looked, people were checking their phones, including a security guard! I was like, is anybody focusing here?! Is this the new normal? After a bit I settled in and connected to some work. Nothing made my heart sing but I did like the mail art pieces by Moyra Davey. Check them out.
This past weekend we went to the Ezra Jack Keats show at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. I have always been a fan of Keats’ collage illustrations and his unprecedented choice in the 1960′s, an era of racial segregation and oppression, to portray children of color in his stories. I got a bit emotional seeing his original work. My kids loved spotting panels on the wall from some of their favorite books. Before I was scolded by the security guard I took this snap of a panel from Keats’ book, “Letter To Amy,” which will be a Christmas gift for my daughter. Shh. Don’t tell.
There is also some original Keats related correspondence such as a letter from 1963 to a publicity person for Viking Press, the publisher of “The Snowy Day.”
Dear Miss Crittendon,
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a perfectly charming little book. I wish I had some grandchildren to give it to. Yes I do!
The show is up until January 29, 2012 and worth the trip.
Gutwrench, aka Hope Amico, is having her senior show at the Ephemeral Gallery this Saturday December 3rd from 7-10 pm. They’ll be drinks and snacks and beautiful things made out of paper. Wish I lived closer.
Mazol Tov Hope!
Last week I went to see Ray’s a Laugh at Half Gallery on the Lower East Side, a show of art by Ray Johnson and art inspired by Ray Johnson. It was a treat to see Johnson’s collages up close in a tiny gallery space. The show is up until September 7th. Check it out if you’re in the area.
My son made these envelopes for a dinosaur art envelope contest that was hosted by the dinosaur illustrator James Gurney. They were fun to make and mail and Gurney returned the favor by sending my son a package that contained some self promoting material and a dinosaur doorknob hanger. It reads, “Do not enter. Violators will be eaten.” and is currently hanging on my son’s bedroom doorknob but I just ignore it.
This has got me thinking about hosting a Viva Snail Mail envelope art contest. Wanna? I am imagining envelopes adorned with hand written praise for postal workers, watercolor illustrations of mailboxes, love letters drawn on the outside. First 20 submissions win a pony? Or some envelopes? Please hit me with some suggestions of how to actually do this. And if you work at an art space, can we hang our envelope art show on your walls in 2012?
There is an exhibition and event series at Esopus Magazine’s Gallery in Manhattan called “Ray and Bob Box” and its made up of correspondence between Ray Johnson and his friend, Bob Warner. Ray Johnson was a multi-media artist who started the New York Correspondence School, a network of people who sent each other stuff in the mail. Johnson, the father of Mail Art, is one of my heroes, for sure, except for the suicide part. Warner will appear at the gallery to open 13 boxes of mail he received from Johnson over the years. The show is up until June 30th and the box opening schedule is here.
If you aren’t in the New York City area, get your hands on the current copy of Esopus Magazine, in which there is an interview with Bob Warner and some very convincing pullout reproductions of mail sent to Warner by Johnson. The magazine comes out twice a year and is absolutely gorgeous. You can look up where to find Esopus magazine here and after you buy the Ray Johnson issue, consider becoming a subscriber. I’m gonna!
My family and I recently went on a fabulous vacation to Philadelphia. We had a great time and among the gems in that city is a gallery on Arch Street called Space 1026, which was having an exhibit of Charles Schulz’s love letters. Yeah, the Peanuts guy. His letters were written in the early 1970′s to a Philadelphia native named Tracy and he was so into her that he longed to bleep her nose and reminisce about a hug at a bookstore. It was such a benign collection of asexual writing and drawings that my childhood image of Peanuts and their creator has remained intact.