mail / art / book

Exhibition :: mail / art / book : an exhibit

Exhibition Run Dates :: 

Curators :: Jennie Hinchcliff and John Held, Jr.

Location :: San Francisco Center for the Book, 375 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco

About the exhibition :: Curated by Jennie Hinchcliff and John Held Jr., mail / art / book explored the intersection of artists’ books and correspondence art and how the two genres influence each other. Zinesters and artist bookmakers have continually utilized the postal system for sending, receiving, and pushing boundaries – all in the name of art. This incredibly open, democratic way of interacting with an audience mirrors postal systems throughout the world.

The exhibition drew on these notions of egalitarian creativity and imaginative cultural production while simultaneously investigating the geographic role of the American West in these cross-genre movements. Hinchcliff notes that, “The West Coast has always been an artistic incubator; specific pieces in the exhibition show us that there is a rich history of small press, mail art, and conceptual art working together, in order to create something entirely new. Wallace Berman’s Semina 7 is a reminder of the spare beauty of ephemera gathered together, while Lowell Darling’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E and Ace Space Co.’s On the Road highlight that there was a time before the internet, when performance pieces were done for friends and other artists, not necessarily the world-at-large...there is a renaissance happening today, an excitement about participation and idea sharing. While this can take many forms and shapes, one of the most interesting manifestations happens to be in the world of artists’ books and correspondence art.”

Featured Artists :: over three hundred artists from 30+ countries participated in the mail / art / book exhibition at SFCB. A full list can be found here. Much of the artwork on display in the gallery was available for visitors to handle, page through, or interact with. 

Related programming for this exhibition included :: the Ex Postal Facto conference, with an opening night reception at San Francisco Center for the Book.

Exhibition Catalog :: A fully illustrated catalog of this exhibition may be purchased from San Francisco Center for the Book 

Exhibition Sponsors :: Grants For The Arts | San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund | The Kahle Austin Foundation |