Wednesday, October 15, 2014

my work selected by Elliott Earls for this great exhibition, opening today...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Nordic fish, monotype with acrylics on paper, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014


A Book About Death Wales 

Launches 18 October at the RCA UA Wales
For Immediate Release

Royal Cambrian Academy
Crown Lane, Conwy, Wales,LL32 8AN United Kingdom

Sonja Benskin-Mesher RCA UA, Wales, Curator
Email: Tel: 07411 455775 

WALES, UK – A Book About Death, the most recent in a series of exhibitions 
on the subject of death, launches in Wales, UK at the Royal Cambrian Academy 
18 October, 2014. 
Curated by artist Sonja Benskin-Mesher, ABAD Wales is the 28th staging of the 
global project launched in New York in September 2009. Since then the project, 
a world wide mail art exhibition on the subject of death, has been shown in varying forms 
in Brazil, Mexicali, Los Angeles, Bosnia Herzagovnia, Treviso, Australia and across 
the United States, among other venues. 
A Book About Death Wales will feature more than 400 works of art sent to the RCA 
from nearly every corner of the planet; in addition, the archival New York City exhibition 
at the Emily Harvey Foundation will also be on view – 487 works, as well as the dozen 
or so original posters from the first show.
The Royal Cambrian Academy is delighted to host ABAD Wales in conjunction with its ‘Art+Book’ exhibition.
“It’s exciting for the Academy to be able to provide another link in the ABAD chain as 
the concept evolves and travels worldwide,” said RCA Vice-President Ann Lewis.  
“This is a tremendous opportunity for visitors to the gallery to view artwork by artists 
from all over the world under one roof. I would like to thank Matthew Rose, and in 
particular Sonja Benskin-Mesher for the hours of work, energy and effort she’s put into bringing this exhibition together.”
“This is the second time, I have curated A Book about Death, Wales,” explains BenskinMesher. “Yet I cannot overcome my strong feelings for the project which is 
humbling in its simplicity.  The reactions from others, especially the artists, are honest, generous, with many baring all in their work sent to the exhibition. I have not experienced such a project that shares so much, asks so little, brings so much to the participants, 
the audience and the world.”
But the art works, in the form of handmade post cards (usually 4 x 6 inches) are not 
all dark, many are even funny, notes BenskinMesher, “like the one about man who was buried wearing his new false teeth, or the poignant and honest piece of a small boy who drew his dead rabbit.”  The quality of the work is extremely high and that points to a project that continues to evolve and attract interested and interesting artists from as far away as China and Brazil.
The exhibition is first for the RCA Conwy, which normally exhibitions academic works 
and/or juried shows, and rarely exhibits unframed pieces.  ABAD Wales will invite the 
public to hang the works on 18 October in a community effort to get involved in an
exhibition that might normally feel “hands off.”  Benskin-Mesher is, she insists, 
“a very hands on curator.”

History of the ABAD Project

Launched in New York in 2009 at The Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery by artist 
Matthew Rose, the project soon took off across the planet.  The call based based on 
an opportunity to work some magic in a particularly important art space in New York, 
says Rose.  
“The gallery was always Fluxus oriented, thanks to the late art dealer Emily Harvey. 
I thought I could bring together a ‘book’ by mail art genius Ray Johnson – his A Book 
About Death – and pay homage to Ray and Emily and all the artists and more around 
the world in a powerful exhibition.” That show was attended by several thousand people, 
all the work (artists submitted 500 printed or hand made postcard works each) was 
exhibited and given away free.
“Viewers to the exhibition were encouraged to gather up their own book by selected 
a work from boxes on the floor,” says Rose.  “It was very taxing to do so and took about 
an hour,” but that’s how the works – the limited edition books – were distributed.”  
Those complete ABAD books are now in the hands of about 100 artists, curators, 
collectors, and in the permanent collections of MoMA NYC, LACMA, (LA California and several art colleges), such as The Otis College of Art and Design, in LA, CA.  
One copy will be on view at the RCA Conwy. 
Since the 2009 exhibition more than 5000 artists have participated in the ABAD project 
and many have become curators themselves of the exhibition.  For the São Paulo 
exhibition at MUBE in Brazil, artist Angela Ferrera “curated” the NYC show with a beautiful music video as well as the museum exhibition. Ferrara’s ABAD video, 
along with others, and additional information about the ABAD project including posters 
and a full catalog of the works are viewable here:

History of the ABAD Wales Project

“When I saw the artist call from Matthew Rose circulating on the Internet for a work 
about death, I didn’t think I had anything to contribute,” recalls BenskinMesher.  
“But then something stirred and I create a work ‘the empty chair.’ That artist project continued and the ABAD project became a phenomena, and I carried on with the works combining it with curating the exhibitions here in Wales. It is an exhilarating and moving challenge.”Wales first showed ABAD, as it is known fondly known by participants, at MOMA in Macynlleth in 2010. 
This year The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, Wales has agreed to host the next chapter in October 2014. “The project,” adds BenskinMesher, “has become in some strange and wonderful way, A Book About Living.”
For more information, images and downloadables from the project, please see:  
A Book About Death, Wales:

Sunday, October 05, 2014

At the SculptureCenter NY with Desert Island

ICONOMICS I is my handmade artist book (the small black one down right)
now on view and available to buy for 80 USD at the SculptureCenter NY 
in a specially created pop-up bookstore by
Desert Island
as part of #puddle #pothole #portal opening exhibition 

photo courtesy of SculptureCenter and the artists

Thursday, October 02, 2014


Phoenix Art Museum
Orientation Room - October 1 to November 23, 2014
MonOrchid Gallery, 214 East Roosevelt Street - December 5, 
2014 to January 12, 2015

Mail art has a rich and varied history in Latin America. Arte correo (and arte correio) 
began in the region in the mid-1960s with the pioneering efforts of such key figures 
as Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Graciela Gutiérrez-Marx, and León Ferrari in Argentina; 
Clemente Padín in Uruguay; Guillermo Deisler in Chile (and later Bulgaria); 
Dámaso Ogaz in Venezuela; Manuel Marín, Pedro Friedeberg and Felipe Ehrenberg 
in Mexico; and Leonhard Frank Duch, Unhandeijara Lisboa, and Paulo Bruscky in Brazil, 
to name just a few. 
On the occasion of the exhibition Paulo Bruscky: Art Is Our Last Hope 
at Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona, Vanessa Davidson and John Held Jr. are co-curating 
a mail art exhibition entitled Focus Latin America. Centered around the theme 
art is our last hope,” the curators seek to revive dialogue about the challenges facing 
artists living in Latin America and the utopian projects they have historically undertaken 
to fuse artistic practice with social engagement. Created in 1983, Bruscky’s artwork 
Art Is Our Last Hope was envisioned as a billboard piece consisting solely of those five words. How have art and life in Latin America changed since he issued that proclamation? What meanings does this notion engender in Latin America in the 21st century?

View all submissions received on Tumblr!

Exhibition Programming

International Mail Art Symposium: October 8th, 2014

Singer Hall, Phoenix Art Museum
This exhibition will be accompanied by an International Mail Art Symposium with a special focus on Latin America. This event will take place at Phoenix Art Museum on October 8th, 2014, from 6 to 8 pm in Singer Hall, with the participation of John Held Jr., Mauricio Marcin Álvarez, and Vanessa Davidson. The symposium is free and open to the public.

Make It! - October 15, 5:30 p.m.

Great Hall, Phoenix Art Museum
Create your own mail art inspired by the artworks mailed to the Museum from around 
the globe to comprise our current exhibition Focus Latin America: Art Is Our Last Hope!

Artist Talk: Paulo Bruscky - October 29th, 7 p.m.

Singer Hall, Phoenix Art Museum
Artist Paulo Bruscky will present a fascinating lecture on his work spanning 5 decades.

photos courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum and the artists

Monday, September 29, 2014

some super news came to my inbox yesterday... 


Dear Nectarios,Congratulations! 
This year's juror, Elliott Earls, has chosen your work entitled 
“Monument for a market” to be included in the 2nd annual multi-national  
2014 FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social and Politically Engaged Art 
 from October 15 to December 3, 2014, at the Reece Museum, 
East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN USA...