Before the internet, artists had other ways of sharing their creations with the world. One such way was mail art (also known as “correspondence art” or “postal art”), a movement originating in the 1960s in which artists sent small-scale works to one another through the postal system, using collages, written words, and artist-made stamps. Mail artists sought to diverge from museums and galleries, which they saw as elitist modes of display. Through the more widely accessible means of postcards and packages, the mail art community interacted across international boundaries and circumvented the commercial art market. Pushing the Envelope at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery displays mail art ranging from serious to bizarre: Canadian artist Anna Banana publishes anything and everything banana related in her absurdist newsletter Banana Rag, and Tony Lowes parodies wartime propaganda in a sprawling anti-art manifesto. Other artists draw attention to social and political issues—Russian artist Ry Nikonova depicts herself with a hand tugging a rope around her neck as a means of criticizing the U.S.S.R.’s policy against citizens leaving the country, while British artist Pat Larter stresses sexual liberation and calls attention to the male dominance of the mail art movement through her “fe-mail art.” Though letters and postcards are becoming obsolete in this digital age, the mail art community stands as a testament to the bygone interconnectedness of the postal system. Read more>>> The exhibition runs to January 4, 2019 at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery, 8th and F streets NW. Free. (202) 633-7940. aaa.si.edu. (Rose Shafer)
OH AND ALSO
English rock guitarist Jeff Beck performs with Ann Wilson of Heart at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap. 8 p.m. at 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $35–$75.
The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage hosts musicians from the International Young Artist Piano Competition, who will premiere a new composition by Li-Ly Chang and play favorite compositions by Beethoven and Chopin. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Author Linnea Hartsuyker reads from The Sea Queen, the latest book in her series of Norse history retellings, at Politics and Prose at The Wharf. 7 p.m. at 70 District Square SW. Free.
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