Going Postal

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Impending obsolescence adds a veil of wistfulness to aging media forms: just look at what video has done for 16mm, or digital photography for Polaroids (may they rest in peace!) So our hubbub of electronic messaging, texting and twittering in all its various permutations, now invites contemplation of its paper-based, postage-stamped ancestor: mail art in an email age. Brooklyn-based artist David Horvitz recently closed a show in San Francisco, entitled "I Will Go Somewhere and Mail You Something From There," comprised of photos snail-mailed every day for a month from New York to the gallery, exhibited alongside print-outs of daily emails heralding their arrivals. This is only one of Horovitz's correspondence projects: for "Things For Sale That I Will Mail You," he sets prices on various travel-based artifacts he promises to send generous PayPallers: sand from the beaches of Okinawa or Coney Island; photos from trips to Perth, the island of St. Helena, or just down the street; documentation of a reading of The Little Prince at the New York Stock Exchange. (St. Exupery is a pitch-perfect mirror to Horovitz's often all-caps texts: conceptualism done cute with an unwavering little-boyish sincerity.) More vibrantly material pleasures can be found in an online exhibition of Anne McGuire's painted postcards, altered with inks, watercolors and postage stamps, then sent through the mail. Some offer delicately extended landscapes behind moose and birds, expanding stamp-art beyond its frames; others bear cartoon zaniness along the lines of McGuire's past animation, giving Queen Elizabeth's head a nude sunbathers’ body or adding an imperative below Mister Donut's logo: "he’s hot EAT HIM." - Ed Halter

Image Credit: Anne McGuire, "From Anne McGuire" Postcard, 2008