Fluxus, Mail Art and Rubber Stamps
New York, New York
April 15- May 29, 2010
Stendhal Gallery will present the exhibition, “Greetings from Daddaland: Fluxus, Mail Art and Rubber Stamps,” opening April 15 – May 29. The exhibition is drawn from the collections of John Held, Jr. of San Francisco and Picasso (Daddaland) Gaglione of Chicago, collectively known as The Fake Picabia Brothers.
Gaglione and Held presented a showcase for Fluxus, Mail Art and rubber stamp art at The Stamp Art Gallery in San Francisco during the mid-nineties. The current exhibition documents the gallery’s activities through posters, exhibition catalogs, performance documentation, mail art, artist postage stamps and rubber stamp box sets made to commemorate the various exhibitions.
Coupling his passion for collecting sets of antique rubber stamps (dating from the 1920s), and his penchant for Fluxus inspired works, Gaglione began creating rubber stamp box sets to accompany exhibitions by contemporary artists and to honor historic figures of the 20th Century avant-garde, who had influenced his artistic practice.
In putting together the rubber stamp box sets, Gaglione and Held followed the example of Fluxus impresario George Maciunas in his production of Flux-Kits. These inexpensive yet elegent multiple editions set the tone for the production of these post-Fluxus editions.
In the production of the rubber stamp boxed sets, Gaglione and Held, worked closely with noted art historians. Their exploration of Yves Klein’s “Blue Stamp,” created and mailed for a 1957 gallery exhibition, brought them into contact with the late Pierre Restany, the French critic who formulated Nouveau Realism. Their work on the history of French/American artist Arman, lead Held to the artist’s studio in New York City, where he not only was interviewed, but created original drawings to be made into rubber stamps.
By the time the Stamp Art Gallery closed in late 1997, Fluxus related rubber stamp box sets produced included “George Macunias: Passport Photographs by Peter Moore” (1996), “Belgium Fluxus by Luce Fierens” (1996), “Jeff Berner: Self Portrait Stamps” (1997), “Fluxus Commemorative” (1995), “Ken Friedman: Faux Fluxus West Edition” (1995), “Geoffrey Hendricks: Cloudsmith” (1997), “Geoffrey Hendricks: Identification Kit” (1997), “Alison Knowles: St(r)ing Piece” (1996), “Takako Saito: Enjoy Your Life” (1997), “Mieko Shiomi: Endless Music” (1997). Ruud Janssen: TAM Rubberstamp Archive (1996).
In addition to Gaglione and Held’s interest in Fluxus, other box sets mark their interest in Dada (Bay Area Dadaists, Marcel Duchamp, Raoul Hausmann), Russian Futurism and Constructivism (Zaum poets, Tatlin), Kurt Schwitters, Nouveau Realism (Klein, Arman, Tinguely), Conceptual Art (Dieter Roth, Tom Marioni) and Mail Art (Ray Johnson, buZ blurr, Richard Craven, Ulises Carrion, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, Robin Crozier, Ed Plunkett, Endre Tot and May Wilson).
A complete collection of Stamp Art Gallery catalogs have been previously acquired by the Museum of Modern Art Library, New York. Held has also compiled collections for the Getty Museum and the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. The works on display are drawn from his personal collection with new rubber stamp works produced by Gaglione, now living and working in Chicago under the rubric of Stampland.