Series - Mail art and correspondence

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Mail art and correspondence

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  • Source of title proper: Title supplied from series contents.

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1964-2018, predominantly 1971-2018 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

12.53 meters of textual records, 563 photographs and other materials

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(24 February 1940 – Present)

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Scope and content

Series is made up of correspondence and mail-art related items received and collected by Anna Banana from the late 1960’s to the 2000s. The series reflects Banana’s involvement in the Mail Art movement (through what was then called the Mail Art Network – referring to a global network of artists who communicate through the post as an act of decentralization of artistic communication among the arts community) as well as her own personal mail. Beginning in the mid 60’s, mail art was a movement inspired by the Dadaists and futurists of the early 20th century, and made popular by notable artists such as Ray Johnson, as well as artist groups such as Image Bank and the New York Correspondence School. It remains a highly collaborative and decentralized global movement, with artists like Banana sending out, receiving, and manipulating artworks through the mail. It focuses on small form artworks, including rubber stamps, artistamps, decoration and adornment of letters and envelopes, chain mail and other creative forms.

Subject matter includes mail-art received through the Mail Art Network, personal mail to friends and family, and collected invitations to participate in mail art shows, publications and magazines, as well as catalogues of artists displayed in mail art shows, publications and magazines. Media in this series varies greatly due to the nature of the mail art movement, and the lines between textual and graphic records are blurred, so that many letters, envelopes and other classically textual mediums are often decorated with the use of paints, stamps, drawings, collage and other mixed media.

The series is arranged into 11 subseries using Banana’s existing filing system: Original mail art network, 1990s Mail art (Part 1), 1990s Mail art (Part 2), Mail art Fin de Siecle 2000, 2000s Mail art (Part 1), 2000s Mail art (Part 2), Mail art final years, Personal mail, Mail art show and publication invitations and catalogues, Unfiled mail, and Envelopes.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


It is uncertain why, after 1990, Banana began to restart her filing systems every few years. Her original arrangement is retained in the sub-series division. Mail art related correspondence was divided into a number of chronologically based sub-series, arranged either alphabetically or by country. Banana also distinguished these from her personal mail, various received mail art show and project invitations and catalogues, as well as unsorted and unanswered mail.

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