MinXus Mail Bag: Fluxus Space Buck + More! by Cathy Barnett (O Fallon, Missouri, USA)

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Mail art by Kathy Barnett (O Fallon, Missouri, USA)

 

Making & distributing Fluxus Bucks is another long-running activity that is currently experiencing a revival in the international mail art network.

We have especially enjoyed seeing images of Fluxus Space Bucks displayed at IUOMA-Ning. Mail artist Kathy Barnett kindly sent this wonderful example for our humble blog & the MinXus-Lynxus Archive, which has a very large contemporary Fluxus collection. This also marks Kathy Barnett’s MinXus-LynXus debut: We extend a secret MinXus handshake to her, give a wink & offer a “Big Howdy” to this Tenderfoot already sticking a toe in the sometimes muddy Fluxus Creek.

According to introductory information in Ruud Janssen’s IUOMA-Ning Fluxus Buck group, “Fluxus Buck is an artistic project from Julie Jefferies aka. ex posto facto (USA) which she started in 1994. A Fluxus Buck is an artists’ banknote which she distributed into the Mail-Art network. Others created Fluxus Bucks as well.” (Ruud Janssen’s Fluxus Word project is an even earlier – 1988 – mail art activity that is still very much active today.)

Fluxus Bucks have been circulating for nearly 25 years. Truly remarkable examples can be found from around the world on the internet. Fluxus Bucks are, in fact, a world unto themselves (in which anyone can participate) & the IUOMA-Ning group is one place to get involved & learn more. Here is a link to the IUOMA-Ning Fluxus Buck group:

https://iuoma-network.ning.com/group/fluxusbuckscreators

Fluxus Buck creator Julie Jeffries (Paquette) currently resides in Dallas, Texas, USA. She maintains a Fluxus Buck page on Facebook where you can see great examples of Fluxus Bucks & connect with the artists who made them:

https://www.facebook.com/FluxusBucks/

We honor Julie Jeffries Paquette as the founder of Fluxus Bucks. But given the relatively late date of 1994, this Fluxus Space Buck has led us to meditate upon possibilities of earlier Fluxus Buck inspirations from the Fluxus movement that goes back to the 1960s. (If anyone has any insights, please share with us via comments!)

Fluxus leader George Maciunas (died 1978) had a vision that grew more pronounced as he neared his demise of Fluxus becoming an alternative community of artists living largely outside mainstream society & being self-sufficient. Other Fluxus members shared his vision.

In addition to a radically different perspective on culture (which is the core of the movement), there were schemes for Fluxus architecture, Fluxus sports, a Fluxus island or submarine (no kidding!), even stranger things & various Fluxus economic schemes to support the artists including Fluxus products.

The idea of an actual Fluxus currency (more than a parody or criticism of capitalism) is very much in accordance with the original movement. So, given current information, Julie Jeffries’ project is a fairly brilliant addendum to the Fluxus of George Maciunas (which, in fact, demanded rigid adherence that few could tolerate for long). The participating artists keep the Fluxus spirit moving.

Our new mail art friend Cathy Barnett has brilliantly enhanced the Fluxus Buck. The concept of Fluxus in space is just natural & part of a logical progression. Cathy Barnett deserves credit for helping advance Fluxus in the 21st century & thus making it new – as someone somewhere suggested about something else.

AND Cathy Barnett also included some other great mail art along with the Fluxus Space Buck:

 

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Mail art by Cathy Barnett

 

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Mail art by Cathy Barnett

 

 

 

 

 

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Secret Masters of Add & Pass: Sticker Dude, Jon Foster, Ed Giecek, Fleur Helsingor, Debra Mulnick

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Mail art “add & pass book” including The Sticker Dude (Joel Cohen) (New York City, USA); Jon Foster (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA); Ed Giecek (Concrete, Washington, USA): Fleur Helsingor (Oakland, California, USA); Debra Mulnick (Boise, Idaho, USA). Thanks to Debra Mulnick for sending!

 

Tenderfoots might recall we are applying our Investigative Mail Art skills at MinXus-Lynxus to the current Add & Pass (A&P) phenom that has embraced, engulfed and enthralled the Eternal Network. Formidable waves of paper (and now entire books) are circulating the globe. We would like to know who (to thank!) and why. Debra Mulnick kindly sent this very nice “add & pass book” (more on the use of this term later). This is certainly a fine example of contemporary A&P. We are thrilled to document this and other examples from the current mania.

 

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Our previous installment of “Secret Masters of Add & Pass” focused on the great mail artist Jon Foster. Based on his numerous appearances in this book, we can only conclude he is a central figure in the current “movement.” Jon Foster seems to have initiated this piece.

 

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We do not wish to serve in the role of Network Language Police nor Defenders of Eternal Network Heritage nor Network Nit-Pickers. BUT a recent, lively discussion on Facebook alerted us to the concept so apparent in this blog of “Add & Pass Books” and that the practice is not without controversy. These a&p books seem to be growing in popularity. We are making no attempt to thwart what might prove to be a natural evolution of a genre or a fad blossoming like a mutant puffball that expires in dust on a lonely midnight lawn. Practicing Investigative Mail Art, we seek only to report facts and/or draw conclusions based on evidence and reason.

Without reconstructing the lengthy discussion that took place among veteran and Tenderfoot mail artists concerning a&p books, we will now present the Official MinXus-Lynxus Position on Add & Pass Books based upon thoughtful meditation: We prefer not to call them “Add & Pass Books.” They are “Collaborative Mail Art Books” or “Collaborative Tacky Little Pamphlets (TLPs).” Mail artists, of course, should call them whatever they like. Should you want to know the reasoning for our position, contact us and we will be glad to explain. Otherwise, “no big deal.” Carry on.

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Postal Joy by Cherub Ayers (Oxford, Ohio, USA)

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Mail art by Cherub Ayers (Oxford, Ohio, USA)

 

We are thrilled to welcome a rising star in the mail art constellations to our humble blog. We extend the customary “Howdy,” wink and secret MinXus handshake to a bright-eyed Tenderfoot who is practically a neighbor over yonder in Ohio: Cherub Ayers.

 

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This wonderful mail art by Cherub Ayers represents the general style and attitude we see in her work showcased at IUOMA-Ning. She emphasizes the friendship and encouragement found among mail artists. She exudes an optimism we probably all can appreciate right now, the world being as it is. We find her approach refreshing. Cherub Ayers’ work tends toward the vintage, which is prevalent in contemporary mail art.

 

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Deepest thanks to Cherub Ayers!

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: “Uproar” zine first issue by Jayne B. Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

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Mail art by Jayne B. Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

 

The resurgence and vitality of Add & Pass in the current network is being duly noted many places. Zines are enjoying a revival as well.

Bonniediva’s Bon-Zine is one such new wave publication receiving much-deserved praise along with Jayne B. Lyon’s Uproar. In fact, despite only one (triumphant) issue, the Uproar cover has already achieved network-iconic status. But we believe we would be remiss not to document the emergence of Uproar, even if other zealots have scooped us on reporting this mail art Happening. (However, we resist presenting the zine in its entirety since that kind of publishing is really not in our prevue.)

 

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Uproar zine by Jayne B. Lyons

 

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The evolution of the contemporary mail art zine from the underground press of the 1960s, Punk fanzines of the 1970s and the “Golden Age” of network zines in the 1980s onward to the digital is a fascinating history to trace.

Contemporary zines tend to be smaller and content is usually provided by the zine’s creator, whereas zine predecessors easily included the work of dozens of other contributors in an issue (often patched in from mail art received) and subjects covered were literature, music, politics and a mix of related subjects.

The “Me Generation” focus of contemporary zines is not surprising and provides exposure to individual artists and writers in a field that is far more crowded than it was in previous decades. (Nor do we see anything negative in this shifted focus of zines.) Thus, it is interesting to note that both Jayne Lyons and Bonniediva are reverting to a more traditional magazine-like format that is broader in editorial focus (although the current zine elements remain pronounced).

Below, for example, Jayne Lyons includes a section of mail art received. This includes Amy Irwen (Minnesota, USA) and the great genius De Villo Sloan (New York, USA). On a practical level, we are sure the Old School zinesters quickly learned that empty space could easily be filled from entertaining mail art received.

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Excellent packaging as well:

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Secret Masters of Add & Pass: Jon Foster (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA)

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Mail art by Jon Foster (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA)

 

In several previous posts, we have noted an add & pass (a&p) mania that has gripped the Eternal Network. Starry-eyed Tenderfoots alongside those lovable, rancorous old codgers of “back in the day” are scrambling for a&p sheets as if it were a modern Gold Rush.

In our humble MinXus Mail Bag we now officially report an overwhelming deluge of a&p sheets that has been building from ominous, rumbling storm clouds upon the horizon for over a year. The heavens have opened full force.

Add & pass mania is good news in terms of the well-being and vitality of the network. Comparatively, we think, things seem to be going very well. The add & pass is an artistic genre historically linked to mail art, so the current activity is a sign of the continuity of tradition.

But what is the toll of A&P Noveaux upon the individual correspondence artist? Are we returning to factory-like production to respond to an inflationary demand? What are the consequences of guilt derived from not being able to respond to and mail every A&P sheet received? Are we producing a generation of A&P “specialists” who will be artistically obsolete when the deluge has subsided and, perhaps, the tide even turns against the excesses of A&P Noveaux?

Ah, but we are forever optimists when it comes to mail art! Our intention in this and other related blogs is to document the origins and completion of contemporary a&p sheets. Jon Foster appears to be playing a role in these exciting developments, based on this recent mailing received.

Someday, we imagine, mail art historians will seek the identities of those who were in central in this “movement” – to give them belated credit, of course. Even now, some of us would like to know who to thank for this overflowing cup of creations.

Mail art is full of conspiracies and theories. We wonder if A&P mania is the product of a secret cabal who seek to control the network for obscure purposes. We note that the a&ps seem to originate with a handful of individuals, although we make no claim to have yet “cracked the code” of a&p mania. But we will be sure to report on exciting developments in the A&P area as they develop.

 

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Mail art by Jon Foster (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA)

 

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When Jon Foster isn’t busy putting new add & pass sheets into circulation, he does some interesting mail art. He kindly sent these pieces:

 

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Mail art by Jon Foster

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Retrospective-In-A-Bag by Jayne Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

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Mail art by Jayne Lyons (Lakeville, Minnesota, USA)

 

Recently Jayne Lyons celebrated her first year in the Eternal Network. This was, we think here at the ranch, a cause for celebration indeed because Jayne Lyons is a Tenderfoot who is emerging as an engaging “mail art persona” & sharing art that crosses a wide spectrum & appeals to many friends.

The significance of one year in the network appears to shrink in comparison to the decades of accomplishment we see in, for example, John M. & C Mehrl Bennett, Richard Canard, CrackerJack Kid, Ficus strangulensis, Sinclair Scripa (Tania), Carl Baker… you get the idea. Yet even a relative veteran knows a year is a long duration (sentence?) in Mail Art Time, which is not conventional time as experienced by “Normals,” as the SubGenius folks say.

Jayne Lyons has made important contributions to Trashpo and DKult; vintage, crafts, folk art-oriented mail art ( known as Mail Art Nouveaux at the Mink Ranch); and now she is involved in vispo & asemics. The pieces on display in this blog are a mailing of scale that provides a convenient retrospective of her work in the network thus far. The pieces are large & numerous.

This is yet another occasion to mourn the cost of mailing art. Once mail art was an inexpensive, egalitarian way to share material art lavishly with an appreciative audience. We understand this is no longer the situation & thus appreciate more this tremendous collection from Jayne Lyons done in classic mail art form.

 

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Stamp collage on the reverse:

 

 

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Mail Art by Jayne Lyons (Minnesota, USA)

 

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“Ode to Sloan” February 27, 2019. By Jayne Lyons

 

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Mail art by Jayne Lyons (includes asemic vispo by De Villo Sloan)

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Collage by Thea Hollister (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Mail art by Thea Hollister (Seattle, Washington, USA)

A huge “Howdy” goes out to Thea Hollister of Seattle who makes her first appearance upon our humble MinXus-Lynxus blog with two solid, oblong & suitably cryptic pieces of mail art collage & a wonderful envelope.

Of course, we also offer a wink & a secret MinXus handshake to this promising new Tenderfoot. Dark Wall made a point of mentioning how much he liked this work by Thea Hollister. He fished out of the brimming mail bag he fetched from up by the highway on this stunning April day.

 

 

We point out how many Tenderfoots we see joining the network from Seattle. That is only a positive reflection on the cultural climate of that great polis. We also point out that Seattle was a mail art center of great note in the Golden Age of the 80s. So what comes around goes around & all is well in the kingdom, etc. etc.

 

 

And from the Chance Operations Department: Here is a malfunction from a Thea Hollister scan that produced – we think – an interesting collab:

Deepest thanks to Thea Hollister!