Dadamatic Mail Art

From Irene Dogmatic's collection
Event detail

The San Francisco History Center's SF Punk Archive is pleased to present Dadamatic Mail Art: from Irene Dogmatic’s collection, which includes stamp art assemblings, rare zines, photographs, postcards, Xerox art, and ephemeral pieces by dozens of early practitioners, including Bill Gaglione, Anna Banana, Monte Cazazza, Pat Tavenner, Genesis P-Orridge, Boyd Rice, Mark Mothersbaugh, Al Blaster, Patti Smith, and Opal Nations, among others. The exhibition opens on Saturday, October 1st, in the Skylight Gallery wall cases, Sixth Floor, Main Library, and continues through December 31st.

Irene Dogmatic started her career as a visual and performance artist in the Bay Area in 1972 and is best known for her surreal and satirical paintings of dogs and people, as well as her time in the original punk bands, The Beautykillers, SST, and the Kahunas.

Irene’s involvement with Mail Art began in the early 70’s when she came across a fake newspaper flyer by Lou Carson and Pat Tavenner, the editors of the brief-lived publication, Mail Order Art. Soon she was an active member of  B.A.D. (Bay Area Dadaists) and operating in the loosely connected underground art movement which was building on William Burroughs’s idea of image-as-virus, the absurdity of Dadaism, and the anti-commercial / anti-art sensibility of Fluxus.

As John Held Jr. recently asserts in Art Quarterly, “[Mail Art’s]… DIY nature includes all and rejects none. In an analog state, postal interaction paved the way for the Internet in preparation for a digitally creative, open, international communication system. Mail art’s greatest asset is the wide arc of its inclusion. Dismissed in the eyes of critics by its uneven quality, the totality of the network is its greatest strength and provides an incisive view into contemporary cultural concerns.”

Dadamatic is presented in conjunction with Dada World Fair, City Lights Bookstore's centennial celebration of Dada.

Related exhibit: The Most Dada Thing: Neo-Dada in San Francisco; Artifacts left behind by the Bay Area Dadaists and the creators of Inter Dada 84. Skylight Gallery, 6th floor, Main Library, SFPL. Through Dec. 31st, 2016.

Related program: Bastard Children of Dada: Happenings, Fluxus, Mail Art, Punk, and beyond. Thursday, 6pm Nov. 10th, 2016, Latino/Hispanic Rooms, Lower Level, SFPL.

Images: postcards from Irene Dogmatic's Mail Art collection.

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