Saturday, May 22, 2010

Deborah Remington 1930-2010

As a practitioner of Obituary Mail Art, I habitually check the New York Times obituary section to see who has died and to determine whether there might be an obituary worthy of turning into art. In the process, I often find connections to various literary and artistic interests, in particular to Allen Ginsberg and the Beats. Such was the case when I noticed the article announcing the death of Deborah Remington, an abstract painter with whom I was unfamiliar.

Deborah Remington was one of the six co-founders (and the only woman) of the Six Gallery in San Francisco, the gallery in which Allen Ginsberg gave the first public reading of "Howl" in 1955 (the other artists were Wally Hedrick, John Allen Ryan, Hayward King, David Simpson, and Jack Spicer).

Obituary mail art is a sub-genre of Mail Art in general, that odd, Fluxus-like practice closely associated with Ray Johnson. I may be the only practitioner. Try googling the text string "obituary mail art" and see how many hits you get. The practice is straightforward. Read the obituaries, cut out those of people that interest you, make a photocopy of it, put the original article in an envelope, festoon and adorn the envelope with imagery, mail the envelope to yourself, then seal it in laminate. 

The images below are the front and back of Lescaret's obituary mail art of Wally Hedrick. 

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