Saturday’s workshop provided participants with the opportunity to explore the practice of mail art thorugh an intimate workshop with artists Michael and Alan Fleming. Upon arrival participants were given a handout about mail art and encouraged to view examples in the Bruscky exhibition. The Flemings began the workshop by briefly summarizing some of the history of mail art and discussing a couple examples of their own work. They did a 5 minute collaborative exercise as a warm up. For example, they first asked everyone to cut out a piece of a Bronx postcard paste it to the page and pass to the neighbor on their left. This series of short directed interventions primed people to work collaboratively and not to stress about a finished product. All of the warm up works were lined up at the end of the exercise so people could view the journey their works had taken.
The final project was an extension of the warm-up and allowed participants to take more care of their work while still working under a short time frame and collaborating with others. At the end, the group viewed the final works and each person was asked to choose one and seal it in an envelope. Once the envelopes were sealed the Flemings told everyone to pass their mail artwork two people to the left and then address it to themselves or a friend.
Participants took the bus to the post office together. Glenn Palmer Smith led a tour of the Ben Shahn murals, discussing the background of the artist, historical context of the work, mural construction process and iconography of the panels. Participants were engaged and asked lots of questions during the tour.