About this mail art blog

This mail art blog re-circulates Ray Johnson's Follow Instructions Below. Originally published in the November 1971 issue of Arts Magazine, it was a "mailing event" cleverly devised by the artist in which recipients are asked to alter or add to a photocopy of Rimbaud.

April 21, 2010

From: Ben M.

After a short break, The "New" New York Correspondence School is back in session. Stay tuned for future posts like this week's masterpiece.

Ben M. took Rimbaud beyond conventional media like drawing and used photography. After cutting the photocopy of Rimbaud into a mask, Ben then handed it over to a friend. As the friend put the mask up to his face, Ben picked up his camera and caught this playful moment. I love how the final work makes me stop for a minute to think out the composition: what's really going on here? who is that man? where is he? what's he hiding behind? what's with the tongue? why does the OJ Simpson glove take up one third of the photograph?

Ben M. teaches us that a little bit of mystery can go a long way. My favorite part about the photograph is how Rimbaud's features are barely visible: they only resonate as gray details like his nostrils, eyebrows, and left ear on the bright white paper. Brilliant work!