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Sorting through ‘Mail Art+’ in the Silver City

The first VISAC show of 2020 opens Friday
Director Kristen Renn of the downtown Trail gallery is prepping for a new show to open on Friday. (Sheri Regnier photo)

VISAC director Kristen Renn (front) had stacks of mail art and artist trading cards to shuffle through this week as she readied for the downtown Trail gallery’s Friday opening of its new exhibit called “Mail Art,” featuring VISAC’s permanent collections of mail art and artist trading cars as well as collections on loan.

Gallery member Laurie Broadhurst lent a hand this week by hanging some of the unique pieces in advance of the show, which runs until Jan. 31.

Mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is a populist artistic movement centered on sending small scale works through the postal service.

It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson’s New York Correspondence School in the 1950s and the Fluxus movement in the 1960s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present.

Artist trading cards, known as “ATCs,” is a conceptual art project initiated by the Swiss artist M. Vänçi Stirnemann in 1997.

He called it a Collaborative Cultural Performance. Artist trading cards are 2 1⁄2 by 3 1⁄2 inches (64 mm × 89 mm) in size, the same format as modern trading cards of hockey or baseball cards.

They are self-made unique works or small series, signed and dated on the reverse by the artist/producer, exchanged and collected by the people who participate in the collaborative performance.

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