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: E’s Fan Club A&P by John M. Bennett (USA), J.F. Chapelle (France) + MORE A&P News

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E’s Fan Club add & pass by John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA), J.F. Chapelle (Merignac) Bordeaux, France), Charles Dubay (Bordeaux, France), Christopher Masse (Bordeaux, France). Created by Miss Noma (2017).

 

Here is a spectacular E’s Fan Club a&p that has been patiently awaiting documentation. John M. Bennett’s distinctive art graces this homage to E – Ambassador of Utopia. The French Fluxus artist J.F. Chapelle (Jean-Francois Chapelle), very reclusive these days, has made remarkable contributions along with associates who are not known to us. Closer ups:

 

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Reverse:

 

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A second a&p was included in the mailing from John M. Bennett that requires further circulation:

 

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Incomplete “Nine Patch” a&p by Magda Lagerwerf (Sellingen, Netherlands); C. Mehrl Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA); John M. Bennett (Columbus, Ohio, USA); Ed Giecek (Concrete, Washington, USA); Mink Rancher (Auburn, New York, USA)

 

Envelope:

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MinXus Mail Bag: Bonniediva’s “Bon-Zine” (First Edition!) (Gurnee, Illinois, USA)

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Mail art zine by Bonniediva (Gurnee, Illinois, USA)

 

Resuming a theme begun in yesterday’s blog, Bonniediva is another relatively new networker who is receiving faves & raves for her unique vintage-Pop approach to art and – more recently – her FAB Bon-Zine. Bonniediva does not need the humble MinXus-Lynxus to further her praise. In fact, we would gladly nominate her for a Hardest Working Woman in Mail Art Award. Bonniediva’s artwork seems to be sprouting underfoot like marvelous magical mushrooms.

Tenderfoots know we are great fans of zines, having been in the network during at least one golden age of the genre (1980s). So we want to document the contemporary zine, which seems to be alive and thriving. Bonniediva also kindly sent us a first edition of the Bon-Zine. Without reproducing the entire issue, we’ll note its presence in the network.

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The Bon-Zine exhibits the norms of contemporary zines we see; it also has the DIY and charmingly eccentric feel of the classic mail art zines. The Bon-Zine is smaller than the older zines; and it is more self-consciously aesthetic than the earlier zines. The Bon-Zine is also self-aware of its ironies & kitsch; the earlier zines were not. One big difference is that the classic zines used content by many different writers & artists. Mail art was an ideal source of content. Thus, mail art and zines formed a happy union. Today, the zine is more autobiographical, which tends to help establish the persona that each mail artist develops.

We do not believe the high-80s zinesters were particularly cognizant of design. They were pioneers of new copy technology. They were influenced by the crude anti-art of Punk fanzines and posters, but this had not yet hardened into an aesthetic via several generations of art students. Truth be told – we believe – much Punk art and music was produced by people without talent and without the slightest interest in gaining skills. Yet it is the ghost of Punk aesthetic – refined & reformed – that brings life to Bon-Zine.  Another form that persists in Bon-Zine is the collage made populist by Fluxus and mail art.

 

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Mail art zine by Bonniediva

 

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As the 1980s progressed, the number of zines in the USA increased dramatically. They were fascinating and mostly underground publications. By the end of the decade before the internet turned zinesters into bloggers DIY zines were likely in the hundreds. We simply do not know. They exist in collections, archives and entire runs of some can be found online; but our knowledge is partial. We cannot estimate how many have ceen lost, so watch for old zines! Here in the 21st century, we can hopefully be more thorough in our documentation of these amazing productions.

Deepest thanks to Bonniediva!

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: “Trash without the Po” by Vikki Johnson (Morrison, Colorado, USA)

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Mail art by Vikki Johnson (Morrison, Colorado, USA)

It’s always gratifying to see a new mail artist – like a glorious butterfly emerging from a cocoon – begin to explore the forms, traditions & innovations unique to the Eternal Network.

So we are extra thrilled to extend a big “Howdy,” a wink & a secret MinXus handshake to Vikki Morrison of Colorado who graces our humble pages today with this foray into the realm of Trashpo. While Vikki Johnson demures & claims to extend only a toe into the landfill, we find much to admire in this work.

This is a large postcard-size piece apparently constructed of found materials. The interwoven hairs (?), fur (?), lint (?) add to the textural quality. Additionally, the work is sprinkled with glitter! Vikki Johnson is probably not aware of the Great Glam Glitter Revival being led by Legend of Trashpo DharmaDaDa Neil Gordon and my humble self.

I fancy that this mail art smells like banana bubble gum, but I am prone to curious neurological abnormalities that are the result of my participation as a human test subject in various scientific research projects long ago. These distortions can come upon me at any time, triggered by some random stimulus (perhaps hair or fur?). Thus, Vikki Johnson’s piece functions on several sensory levels, including touch. The Trashpoets know this as Haptic Poetry.

 

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Vikki Johnson’s kind message, unfortunately, raises only questions for me. Here is the precise quote that inspired the title: “This glue-y postcard may be Trash, but it’s definitely not po(etry).” Humility is a winning quality among Trashpoets & DKulters. But I can assure Vikki this piece qualifies as Trashpo. I must add that it lacks the organic “DKhaos” that has inspired so many Trashpoets; however, this kind of formal composition used by Vikki is used to great benefit in much Trashpo. Trashpo by Claire aka Cleo is a FAB example.

Vikki’s comments about opting “to take off the questionably successful stamps” and the reference to the “pizza circle” being lost in the mail are completely baffling to me. But overall, this is a marvelously successful venture into Trashpo (imho).

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: A&P for E’s Fan Club by Mim Golub Scalin (& others)

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E’s Fan Club add & pass launched by Karen Eliot in 2017. This permutation includes work by Cecilia Bossi (Italy), Maurizio Follin (Italy), Martine Latrille (France), Walter Pennacchi (Italy), Mim Golub Scalin (USA), Mikel Untzilla (Euskadi)

 

Tenderfoot’s might recall that our humble Mink Ranch was designated by Karen Eliot – without consultation with us – global headquarters of E’s Fan Club. To be honest, we did not need to manage another fan club. However, E – Ambassador of Utopia is/was a dear mail art friend and vigorous supporter of MinXus. Many times did his extraordinary work arrive in the MinXus mail bag and appear on the blog for your edification and amusement, oh faithful Tenderfoots. E is and always will be much beloved in the Eternal Network.

THEN E – Ambassador of Utopia seemed to disappear (which he was known to do at times). THEN sad rumors of his demise began to circulate accompanied by other rumors that he is alive and well and his disappearance is just another morbid mail art prank. E’s Fan Club has become a bizarre vigil over which we presided.

At MinXus-Lynxus the sad E affair began about the time we finished an exhausting investigation into stories that mail art legend David Zack is still alive. Many networkers tried to solve the E mystery. As far as we know, there is not yet a resolution.

We still do not know the answer but have printed a number of eulogies to our friend. We do wish he would re-appear, but E – Ambassador of Utopia has been missing for two years now. We fear the worst but wish him well wherever he is. We are, after all, the Eternal Network.

So we will continue to publish E’s Fan Club material as we can. This piece Mim sent is, we think, especially nice.

 

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Some mail art by E – Ambassador of Utopia:

 

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“Sudoku & Paper Games” by Jean-Marc Rastorfer (Lausanne, Switzerland)

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Mail art by Jean-Marc Rastorfer (Lausanne, Switzerland)

 

We are thrilled to have received this exceptional correspondence art from Jean-Marc Rastorfer in Switzerland.

Jean-Marc is not an artist we recall personally from anywhere along the “long dusty trail,” but we are certainly thrilled to make his acquaintance now here in the New Order of things. Apparently Jean-Marc Rastorfer has been a considerable presence in the Eternal Network for many years. We found an early reference to him in the Lomholt Mail Art Archive:

http://www.lomholtmailartarchive.dk/networkers/jean-marc-rastorfer

Lomholt has material representing a time when mail art (late 70s – early 80s) was probably at its most conceptual and intellectual. This possibly gives a context for the interesting mailing being documented in this blog. Rastorfer is still active and turns up on contemporary blogs. For example, here he is on Rebecca Guyver’s wonderful The Postal Ledger blog:

http://thepostalleger.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-illusive-jean-marc-rastorfer-stamps.html

But enough background! Jean-Marc Rastorfer sent a wonderful letter explaining the mailing:

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Mail art by Jean-Marc Rastorfer (Lausanne, Switzerland)

 

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Interesting images – clearly vispo and asemics – appear on the reverse side of some of the cards:

 

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Mail art by Jean-Marc Rastorfer (Lausanne, Switzerland)

 

And the stamps:

 

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Mail art by Jean-Marc Rastorfer (Lausanne, Switzerland)

 

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MinXus Mail Bag: Stamp Collage by Ilya Semenenko-Basin (Moscow, Russia)

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Mail art by Ilya Semenenko-Basin (Moscow, Russia)

A wink, a nod and a secret MinXus handshake are extended to Tenderfoot Ilya Semenenko-Basin who appears on our humble MinXus-Lynxus blog for the first time with engaging and material culture art from Russia! We are thrilled to have this for the M-L Archives. At M-L we adore Russian mail art  which we find vibrant and active. In particular, Russia is a powerhouse of international visual poetry. We would love to receive more!

Lately, we have spotted what we believe is a trend in the use of stamps in mail art. Yes, right, of course, duh: Stamps are obviously a foundation of mail art. BUT we’ve noticed A LOT of artists making and using stamps in creative way these days. “More than the ordinary” as DW might possibly say.

Ilya Semenenko-Basin – new to the Eternal Network as far as we know (and we could be wrong) – is riding the meta-stamp wave nicely, as you can see. He is connecting with many networkers. We consider this piece he sent a stamp collage that makes very interesting use of negative space. Negative space with stamps: That is an approach some might call “novel.” Ilya Semenenko-Basin has done other similar pieces that can be found online.

It is the opinion of MinXus-Lynxus that this piece sent to us by Ilya Semenenko-Basin is most definitely authentic mail art (or correspondence art) rooted in conceptual art and avant garde tropes that first appeared in the 20th century. We send our deepest thanks to Ilya Semenenko-Basin and look forward to more interaction.

 

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