118 artists put finishing touches on mailboxes

November 12, 1992|By New York Times News Service

Turn mailboxes into works of art? More than 100 artists, architects and designers received plain mailboxes from the Archives of American Art, with a request that they turn them into works of art.

The results, on view at 300 Galleria Officentre in Southfield, Mich., are to be auctioned on Nov. 19 to benefit the art archives, a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution that preserves documents and interviews that record the history of art in America.

The exhibition has mailboxes by 118 artists. Ron Kent's entry, "Mailbox . . . and Mail!" is black with a base of laminated mahogany plywood that resembles a stack of mail. Jules Olitski's "Postman's Nightmare" resembles an angry dog. It is made with water-based acrylic, cotton and nylon fiber, and a mailbox.

Even though he let his mailbox sit for a long time, Mr. Olitski said he took the project seriously. He said that the idea for the face, which he said was not supposed to be a dog but a more generic creature, came from the cover of an art magazine.

"Out of Order," by Yoko Ono, at first glance looks like a handbag; it's actually a crushed mailbox with a black hand print and the words "Out of Order." Other artists contributing include Cesar Pelli, John Chamberlain, William Wegman, Armand P. Arman, John Baldessari, Beatrice Wood and John Donoghue.

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