Mail art collections are commonly referred to as "archives."
Geographically dispersed and highly diffuse in scope,
they constitute a critical aspect in understanding
the medium's rather idiosyncratic history.
In addition, they represent a curatorial method that proposes
an alternative approach to the structure of the art museum.
Between June and October of 1999, I mailed a letter of inquiry,
a questionaire, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to 150
individuals and institutions who were said to hold significant
collections of mail art. The initial source for this was Appendix 4
of Eternal Network: A Mail Art Anthology, edited by Chuck Welch
and published by the University of Calgary Press. Other suggestions
came from mail artists and interested scholars. Thirty one mail art
archivists sent replies to my queries. Their responses are detailed
in an artist book and on this site.
The "International Mail Art Archives, 2000" document was produced in an edition of fifty boxed units. Each unit contains 32 envelopes, one for each archive and one for the introduction. The envelopes are silkscreened with archive logo stamps and hold folded printed pages detailing that archive's responses. The boxes measure approximately four by three by three inches.