Daily Archives: April 15, 2008

Envelope Art Exhibition Opens!

Two weeks ago marked the opening of this year’s exhibition accompanying Clarence Ward’s 124th Birthday celebration. Entitled “Envelope Art: Poster and Artist Stamps,” the show features a variety of stamps spanning from the late 19th Century to the heyday of the Mail Art movement in the 1970s. Two types of work are presented. Poster Stamps, the earliest pieces in the show, are commercial advertising stamps intended to bring art to the masses. The Poster Stamps presented come from a range of countries including Germany, Norway, Spain, and Italy. Artistamps, stamps created by artists as circulating art objects, make up the other half of the exhibition. A wall text traces the chronology of Artistamps back to Berlin Dadaist Raoul Hausmann who mailed a postcard with a self-portrait postage stamp in 1919. The appeal of using mail to communicate an artistic message to a wide audience carried into the Mail Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Even conceptual art pieces involving the use of stamps or mailed objects, such as floppy disks sent in the mail, make it into the exhibition. While there is a conceptual tension between the populist stamp art and the conceptual art exploiting the postal system as a way of liberating art from the white-cube gallery, the contrasting work explores the many cross-sections between mail and art throughout the last century. Curators Barbara Prior, Art Librarian, and Emily Edison, Senior Art History Major, compiled the show from items in the Art Library’s collection, Oberlin graduates and local artists Reid Wood’s and Harley’s mail art archives, and a recent donation of Poster Stamps. The exhibition will be on display on the West side of the Art Library through Commencement.

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Posted by on April 15, 2008 in Uncategorized


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