Posts Tagged ‘mailart exhibit’

19MailArtMinneDaDa84 2016Tom Cassidy will be sending out documentation to all the mailart pARTicipants, but in the meantime, I can show you the photos I took on Day One of MinneDaDa1984 at Eat My Words Bookstore. Click on an image to view large. Ryosuke Cohen, of the famous 30+ year old BRAIN CELL project, was in attendance at MinneDaDa84!! I even got to sit for a bust version portrait by Ryosuke on Day Two of MinneDada84 at The Black Forrest Inn banquet room. A full body portrait of Ryosuke and a notebook of Tom Cassidy’s collected Brain Cells was displayed during an interview of Ryosuke on Day Three at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA). More of my MinneDada84 photos are at: MY FACEBOOK PHOTO ALBUM or at MY FLICKR MINNEDADA84 ALBUM, though these don’t represent but a fraction of all the performance events, films, and PEOPLE of the event.


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The ANTI-BRAIN ROT mailart exhibit was hosted during Roanoke VA’s 2015 AFTER MAF (After Marginal Arts Festival – an AFTER effect from the now defunct annual Marginal Arts Festival)

These are BUT A FEW of the many submissions recieved from all over the world.
Wilhelm Katastrof (alias Tomislav Butkovic) will be mailing documentation out.
Tomislav is pictured behind the glass in this photo of postcards on french door window panes.
Mailart was also hung from clips on strings in one room, and spread out on tables in both rooms.
W Katastrof at home
During the opening last weekend, Reid Wood performed the “Xeno’s Donut” score, Tomislav played an audio CD collaged from various contributors (edited & mailed by Mark Sonnenfeld), and the cat went in and out.

MORE PHOTOS from AFTER MAF performances & events, plus detailed descriptions (including descriptions for the mailart in this slideshow) can be found in my Flickr album by clicking HERE but ALSO see ALOT of video documentation of performances that took place at ART RAT STUDIO by clicking HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CLICK on THIS LINK to view films online at VIMEO

wedding photo 1980Mail Art Romance is a documentary about the avant garde poets and artists John M. Bennett and C. Mehrl (“Lady C”) Bennett’s courtship through mail-art in the late 1970’s and early 1980s. Shot on 16mm film by John McClintock, the film is both a document of the DADA / Fluxus related underground mail-art movement of the period and a unique testament to the power of “true love”.

The film features interviews with both artists as well as their Columbus, OH post-man, reenactments of collaborative poems by the couple, examples of their mail-art and footage from their July 4th, 1980 wedding in rural Mount Vernon, Ohio.

TIME’S T-BONE is a 1982 16mm film by John McClintock in collaboration with the poetry of John M. Bennett. The film is a excellent realization of the Columbus, OH based avant garde poet’s vision, filmed on a blistering hot day in a junkyard off highway 71 with surreal imagery inspired by Bennett’s poetry.

Created with the support of the Ohio Arts Council, the film also features John M. Bennett’s fiance and collaborator C. Mehrl wearing a plastic mask in the back seat of a junked car.

-John Also Bennett, December 2012

Mailart Exhibit October 2012

About The 70 Project : John M. Bennett, poet and head of Luna Bisonte Prods, turned 70 in October 2012. John likes skulls and October is the month for All Saints’ Day/Day of the Dead/Halloween. John performed his poetry with other sound artists & we displayed this mailart on his birthday in a gallery. 70 PROJECT mailart is all documented at . THANKS to all the artists listed in labels at the blog for contributing mailart to/for John’s 70th birthday bash. About 200 people from 22 countries contributed mailart!

I did a fluxus performance during The70Project intermission at It Looks Like Its Open gallery on JMB’s birthday.
HERE IS A VIMEO LINK to a video of my performance (camera held by Don Rice, a friend and local writer).
Aside from the disclaimer at the beginning of my performance, I also need to add a correction to address the mistake I made in the performance.
(Yes! I lost my marbles!) When speaking about the yellow marbles I refer to the U.S. Senate, but should’ve said U.S. Congress, because the House of Representatives (with it’s current Speaker John Boehner – unfortunately from Ohio, though note Ohio DID go blue this year for Obama and Sherrod Brown!) has been a BIG problem, though after the 2012 election the Democratics still do not have the 25 extra votes they need to overcome a filibuster in the Senate — so gridlock will continue to occur in the Senate as well.

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THIS IDEA came to me in 1986, when I composed this spiral visual poem, entered it into a city-wide contest called REVISION, and won FIRST PRIZE (split $500 with one other First prize winner). Twentyfive years later I digitally revised the orginal rubberstamped & hand calligraphed version by perfecting the roundness of the outer spiral & adding a few colors aside from the red/black ink. This year’s version was sent to a mailart exhibit in Italy, and was a featured image for an Italian newspaper article about the visual poetry mailart exhibit. This is how my poem reads:
Inventive arrangements of parked cars with co-existing car window displays, an “auto gallery”.
What if all the car sales lots downtown could be redesigned by artists on an occasional display basis? I, myself, imagine a large lot with a spiral of cars, leaving a sidewalk-width space for people to walk thru. Each car could have an interesting artifact hanging from the rear-view mirror or displayed on the rear-deck. If a vacant lot were available once-a-month for a group of car fanatics like the Ford Club, a lot of people would be attracted to such an event – – like the large crowds that gather now at their monthly display at Jerry’s Restaurant at Morse & High. In fact, why don’t we put my old ’61 Ford Falcon at the center of this spiraling mass?
Thanks Tiziana Barrachi for letting me know about this mailart exhibit in Itally.
In addition another version -without the black shape at edge of spiral- was submitted to a circus themed mailart exhibit in Spain and can be viewed in the slideshow documentation at THIS WEBSITE. Note when viewing that slideshow: The vispo featuring a hot air balloon is also mine.

A shoelace was glued in a spiral on top the surface of six wooden postcards, then was cut so the postcards could be painted, stamped, and addressed separately. A small grid on the address side of each gives an indication as to how to reassemble the half dozen cards to recreate the shoelace spiral. They are all addressed to:

Art Postal – Chaussure, Médiathèque Françoise Giroud, 15 avenue de la Cave Coopérative, 34160 CASTRIES, FRANCE

YOU can send mailart on the theme of SHOES to this address, too! However,  please abide by two RULES: The mailart must be 3-dimensional (which means you have to pay PARCEL POST rates to France) and the mailart must not be covered up by a package. Instead it must be entirely visible to the post carriers. DEADLINE: November 2011

Shoes, along with SOLES, are a theme that Marilyn R Rosenberg and I have been working on intently… and I’d used the shoelace spiral (glued onto the boards) as a kind of stamp for our collaborative project, though it didn’t stamp very well.  I brought these half dozen wood cards along to Madison last time I went to Matthew Stolte’s studio to work on collaborations. Matthew didn’t work on these cards, but I worked on them intermittently while also doing other works with Matt. Today, back at home here in Ohio, I finished up the address side and added a few little details to the painted, shoelaced, spiral sides. The FOOT graphic (first image above in this blog post) is my original digital image from which I derived the two stamps that I put on each addressee side of the cards. Some  upper/lower details were cropped and the stamps are so small that it’s impossible to see the reference to “arms”… but it was the feet that were meant to shine for this mailart theme in any case. Note: the FLUXUS stamp, used with paint on the spiral shoelace sides, is one that I carved out from an eraser.

[BLOG UPDATE] Performance note: In a gallery on Staten Island, I performed an event which was based on the above mentioned shoelace spiral mailart project. I removed the fabric belt from my calico patterned blouse and formed a spiral with it on the floor. Then I cut the spiral with two sets of parallel intersecting lines (like a grid) and invited the audience to take pieces. This was during NYC Fluxfest (2011), organized by Keith Buchholz, with additional Staten Island events organized by Mary Campbell and Viv Dey Dada.

Click on images to enlarge.

A previous AW symposium, in 2002, was a huge success, and so this year’s repeat event had been long awaited by the experimental writing community of writers, artists, poets, visual poets, and publishers and performers  of contemporary experimental literature (broadly defined, with Fluxus artists included, of course.)  This year’s symposium was held in the newly renovated Thompson Library at The Ohio State University’s main campus in Columbus Ohio. The following special exhibits were installed in large cases in Thompson Library Exhibit Hall  to show off exemplary materials in the Avant Writing Collection. :

Exhibition of Guillermo Deisler’s UNI/vers, Marilyn R. Rosenberg and David Cole’s Collaboration TRACK, and a selection of materials from The Reed Altemus Collection (curated by Suzanne Silver).

A few special invitations were sent out to participants from Spain, Cuba, Latin America, South America, in part because of additional support from The Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese and The Ctr. for Latin American Studies, and in part because the curator of The Avant Writing Collection is John M Bennett,  has a PHD in Latin American Literature and has recently visited Mexico City, Montevideo Uruguay, the Yucatan, and Guatemala for either tourism of Mayan anthropological sites (with a studied interest in ancient mayan glyphs) or as invited visual poet  for two similar experimental writing/art symposiums. However, the primary reason for inclusion of Latin American experimental writers is because of a long tradition and large community of really incredibly creative writers and visual poets that have been nurtured in our southern hemisphere! I feel incredibly lucky to have been included in those visits and invitations over the past few years.
NOTE ABOUT PHOTO:  Jim Leftwich received the Avant Writing Award “For Excellence in Literature and Exemplary Service” – signed by Geoffrey Smith (Head of Rare Books and Manuscripts) and by John M Bennett (Curator of AWCollection) 20.8.2010 at an awards reception at the end of the 2nd day of the OSU Avant Writing Symposium. (A certificate with a $500.00 monetary award.) In background at left: mIEKAL aND, Center: Jim Leftwich, Right: John M Bennett, in background at right: Marvin and Ruth Sackner

My personal involvement in the symposium:

1. Marilyn R Rosenberg’s display case for the collaborative work by herself and David Cole TRACK needed some extra care taken with the display setup in the giant showcase. So I came to the rescue and unpacked some of the envelopes and a box so that more of  the interesting  “contents” would be displayed, apart from the large envelopes and suitcase that contained those contents.

2. I made a half hour presentation on the last day of the symposium,  including a powerpoint for a visual background. That powerpoint was made up of all the jpeg images submitted by email attachment to my gmail address for the Skylab Visual Poetry Mailart Exhibit. I showed that slideshow again at the mailart vispo exhibit during that evening’s opening events, to compliment the installation of postal mailed vispo.

2a. The first section of my presentation involved conducting a performance by Be Blank Consort members. Nine of them performed My COMPOSITION FOR NINE VOICES WITH TWO INCIDENTAL SECTIONS using vowel sounds and windchimes, while another person counted to twelve, and two others performed “incidents”.  I was able to elect Keith Buchholz and Reed Altemus to perform short Fluxus pieces. Paul Baker has posted a video of the performance here:  From left: Keith Buchholz, John M Bennett, Tom Cassidy, Wendy Collin Sorin, Lesley Scott Helmes, Geof Huth, K.S. Ernst, Sheila E Murphy, mIEKAL aND, Nico Vassilakis, Crag Hill, Reed Altemus. All the noise makers (those with windchimes) have performed with JMB in The Be Blank Consort, though not all together before. The various BBC venues have been in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston, Baltimore, Roanoke, NYC, Cincinnati, Columbus, Albuquerque, New Albany NY, New Brunswich NJ, Baltimore, Prescott AR (what have I left out?). There were additional BBC performers in the audience who had to be left out (Olchar Lindsann, Tomislav Butkovic, and Warren Fry–maybe even others!) due to a limit of voices in the score. A shame that Olchar didn’t come up front sooner, as his performance at the symposium had been a BLOW YOUR SOCKS OFF perfomance — absolutely the best form I’ve ever seen him in!

2b. I passed out two word phrases (which I’ve posted farther on in this blog) called “ROAD TOADS” to the audience and asked them to recite their phrase, one by one, as each slide advanced on the screen. A few of the phrases accidentally complimented the visual poetry image on the screen, as I remember a computer manipulated vispo by Sheila E Murphy (blue toned) coincided nicely with one of the phrases that were read.

2c. I read a few poems from my book “WHAT IT SAYS” to close out my presentation at the symposium, made mention of Marilyn R Rosenberg’s book “etceteras” and Matthew Stolte’s book “eden” and invited all to come to the Skylab opening that night in downtown Columbus to view the above mentioned mailart visual poetry exhibit and a retrospective 0f vispo by my spouse, John M Bennett, curator of the OSU Avant Writing Collection, great performances and the collab fest that Jim Leftwich had planned.

3.  BOTH digitally submitted and postal mailed visual poetry are documented at , including my photos taken 8/21/10 of the Skylab opening Saturday night events.  I’ve  shared a list of mail artists’ addresses with all the participants and interested parties by post, email, or by handouts at the symposium and at Skylab Gallery.  The  mailart installation comes down tomorrow (I’d installed it two weeks ago with the professional help of Sarah Weinstock), then the final step  of preparing it for The OSU Avant Writing Collection begins. Take a look at the documentary blog, & you will also see  a few people at the Skylab opening participating in ART DETOX fun. The ART DETOX graphic (and idea) was instigated by Vittore Baroni (Italy) for anyone to download off the internet and attach to paper bags for performance fun during 2010. These two paper bags were left over from a previous OSU Urban Arts Space performance by JMB and myself, so they were all ready for our Saturday night Skylab opening fun!

3b. I did help transport John’s framed visual poetry (many of which I’d matted and framed for John) to Skylab for our son, John Also Bennett, to install. John Also also curated that exhibit, as he had to eliminate pieces due to limited space and a need to represent different periods in a balanced way. He did an excellent job hanging the retrospective in visually compelling groups. I provided a book of a mailart interview of JMB that Ruud Jansson had done 15 years ago, and the clip mobile with 10 of JMB’s  TLPs (Tacky Little Pamphets), and ensured that The Baron’s 3-D hanging construction of a vertical set of JMB’s poems was also  included.

AND YET, there was SO MUCH else happening during the Avant Writing Symposium because SO MANY great people came (some traveling so far!) to share and partake of one another’s work/play and we enjoyed getting to know each other person to person. Also some nifty performances happened at the Skylab opening, including our Cleveland OH native Luigi Bob Drake and Columbus natives John Also Bennett and Larry Marotta, Fluxus performances and performances by the Post Neo Absurdist Anti-Collective. John has collected photos from the AW Symposium and Skylab opening night which were taken by various people. They’re posted at his Flickr website at:  but also at the official Avant Writing Symposium OSU SITE HERE. A Skylab Collaboration Fest was organized by Jim Leftwich and resulted in a presentation box (decorated by Keith Buchholz) filled with TLP collabs, etc. for JMB at the end of the evening. Very nice. I would mention a few of my FAVORITE presentations at the AW Symposium, but there were SO MANY great ones, plus a couple that I missed due to simultaneous presentations in different rooms at the library. It might be helpful just to list the participants that made presentations, but there were many more participants that DID NOT present but were still SO VALUABLE to us all for simply BEING THERE and interacting with us!  Still, the symposium kick off  deserves special mention:

Keynote Address: Dr. Marvin A. Sackner

Erotica, Pornography, and Obscenity in Contemporary Concrete and Visual Poetry, and, Visual Verbal Imagery

The collection that Dr. Sackner focused on included works by both men and by women, of both male and female subject matter, and from olden times when it didn’t take much to be labeled “obscene” to contemporary times when what is available to the public on MTV can be intimidating, at least to someone like me (aged mid-fifties/  raised Catholic in a small town/ never had cable). Dr. Sackner (whom we know casually as “Marvin”) made special mention of D.A.Levy and some others who came up against the establishment because of the controversial nature of some of their creative works. But mostly, I just enjoyed seeing his slides for the shear beauty and creative nature of the visual poetry he had culled from his (and Ruth Sackner’s) collection to share with us: Much of which I might never have been able to see otherwise! … and as such, it was a very impressive  keynote address. Thankyou Marvin and Ruth Sackner.

AND THANKYOU Reed Altemus, for your very impressive collection, of which Suzanne Silver delved into for some awesome publications, mailart, fluxus materials, correspondence, etc. for display in the exhibit hall.  AND, again,  it was great fun and an honor for me to be trusted with Marilyn R Rosenberg/David Cole’s TRACK materials in order to artfully display more of the  incredible vispo contents on the floor of the giant display case. Much of the  collaboration process between Marilyn and David was lovingly preserved in playfull envelopes and postcard/letter correspondence, even aside from direct visual, object, & word play.

OK, I give in, here’s a list of all the OTHER presenters: (This does not count those participants who provided their publications for sale in The Avant Store, for which we were all so grateful to view and/or purchase!)

Keith A. Buchholz & Reed Altemus

FluxFast: Performing Fluxus Scores by Contemporary Networkers

Tom Beckett

Questions: What do I know? What should I do?

Lizabel Mónica

21st Century Cuba: Literature in Transition

K. S. Ernst

Three-Dimensional Poetry: the Ghosts of Words

Suzanne Silver

Blacklists/Whitelists: An Artist’s Book

Paul Baker

Wordsalad: A Radio Show

William James Austin

Deformatism and the Avant-Garde

Nico Vassilakis

Staring at Vispo: LETTERS

Thomas M. Cassidy

Disjointed: A Performance

The Be Blank Consort: Scott Helmes, K. S. Ernst, Sheila E. Murphy, John M. Bennett, Michael Peters, Geof Huth, Thomas M. Cassidy, mIEKAL aND, Nico Vassilakis, and others

Sound Poetry Performance at OSU Urban Arts Space/Larry Marotta Hour  (downtown Columbus)

Olchar E. Lindsann

Somasemia: Poems Wearing Meat-Suits

Gerald Schwartz

Strategies Against the God of World: Bring Me the Head of the Semiotic Goethe (performance)

William R. Howe

Holographic Poetry: Disrupted by Hand

Luis Bravo video presentation:

Tamudando/Ischanying (Voces & Sonidos/Voices & Sounds)

Sheila E. Murphy 

Text and Art to Honor the Occasion: Renewing the Public Role of Poetry and Art

Joel Lipman

The Sciart of Bern Porter’s Found Poetry

Martín Gubbins

Presentation of Visual Poetry: London Poems

Jean Kusina

Visual-Cine-Poetry: The Alphabetical Experimental in Film and Video

Rachel Heberling

To Achieve Typing Power: An Artist’s Book

Loss Pequeño Glazier

Guaniauiqui: What Is the Digital Avant-Garde?

C. Mehrl Bennett

Mailart, Visual Poetry, Fluxus: A Connection

Roger Santiváñez

De Huidobro a Parra: Martín Gubbins & Beyond

Antonio Bonome

The Visual Arts and William S. Burroughs

Crag Hill & Nico Vassilakis

The Lastvispo Anthology: What Then, What Now?

John M. Bennett

Reading/Performance & Las Cabezas Mayas/Maya Heads

Award Reception, 11th floor, Thompson Library (2010 Recipient: Jim Leftwich)

Jorge Luiz Antonio

Digital Avant-Garde Experimental Poetry: Another Genre of Contemporary Poetry?

Reid Wood

Don’t: Performance

Mary Jo Bole

Toilet Worship/Toilet Talk

Endwar (Andrew Russ)

An Eye for an I

Wilton Azevedo

Atame Angustia do Precario: Visual Poetry

Will Napoli

Protext and Then Some

Roger Santiváñez

Poetry Reading Neo-Barrok

Michael Peters

A Press Conference Celebrating the Donation of Priceless Archival Fleury Colon Material to the OSU Libraries

David Baratier (Also presenting for David Baptiste Chirot in abstentia)

The Vizpo of Public Space

Thomas L. Taylor In Memoriam: A Reading

John M. Bennett, Olchar E. Lindsann, Tom Cassidy, Sheila E. Murphy, Warren Fry, Michael Peters, F. A. Nettelbeck, Michael Peters

Geof Huth

What Word Once Was

mIEKAL aND & Camille Bacos

Tzara in Oblivion


1) Please sign the Skylab guestbook tonight.  If you are a visual poet in this exhibit then . when I send the exhibit participants a list of the mailartists’ addresses, which is customary, I will asterick your name on the list to indicate that you were at the opening tonight

2) If you leave your email with your name in the guest book (in a legible form) then I will email you the entire list of people from the guestbook who acknowledged their presence tonight. If you do not wish to share your email address on this email that I send out, please let me know to hide your email address on my email by putting an asterick in front of your email in the guest book.

3) If you also wish to leave a comment about the exhibit – or about anything or anyone else for that matter – then I would also share that with the mailart participants and with anyone who leaves their email address in the guestbook tonight. I hereby limit DBC to 25 words.

4) If you are a mailartist in this exhibit but you do not wish me to share your mailing address along with your name as a participant, or if I’ve listed your address incorrectly, or if your address has since changed – please let me know. MRR, I have this info from you.



Do not sign the guest with your name or anyone else for that matter, if your address has since changed. Don’t let me know, MRR, when I send the exhibit participants your address on my email.  I have this info I would also share in the guestbook tonight, then I will not asterick your name at the opening. Do not let me know on this email that I send out, if you wish to limit DBC to 25 words. As a participant, do not comment about the exhibit – or about anything else you do not wish me to share. Do not leave your asterick in front of it, but do send DBC 25 words. Do not let me know if you are a mailartist (in a legible form) because then I would acknowledge your words have since changed. The entire list of people do not acknowledge their words correctly, for that matter. MRR: To hide your address on my list, I’ve listed your address incorrectly, which is customary. Attention Everyone: If you send the exhibit participants your list of 25 words, then I will take that off DBC’s TO DO LIST & transferr it to his NOT TO DO LIST.


















R (as in “M”s middle initial)






C Mehrl Bennett / RE: