Sending typed letters, postcards, or small packages of treats via snail mail is sadly going the way of the dinosaur. It’s a rare surprise to find a handwritten letter in the mailbox among the pizza menus and flyers for the local gym. When it comes to mail art, the extra time and effort in composing the work is far more rewarding than attaching a .jpg and pressing send. For the receiver, opening a mailed masterpiece is extra special and a cause for celebration.
Art Metropole’s Goin’ Postal exhibit features work from the personal collections of mail art recipients. Original postcards, letters, photographs, and envelopes display scribbles and doodles alongside formal, typed letters and handwritten notes. These personal exchanges of information reveal a small slice of seriousness and a large dose of quirkiness. Most of the mail art comes straight from the mailboxes of local artists, including Sandy Plotnikoff and Amy Lam. Hilarity presents itself in the form of letters to Bill Burns from the offices of George Bush, Tony Blair, and Jean Chretien in response to his attempts to bring widespread attention to the protection of small animals. Although rejected at the government level, Burns’ Safety Gear For Small Animals project can provide hard hats to squirrels and dust masks to birds.
Opening someone else’s mail is a criminal offense. Visiting Art Metropole is entirely legal.
Goin’ Postal is at Art Metropole until November 24. Head over to 788 King St. West Tuesday to Friday 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. or Saturday 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Photo by Squeakyrat from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.