Monday, March 30, 2015

Chess, Mail Art and The Society of Independent Artists

On my last visit to San Francisco Paul Kos organized a chess match between Mike Dyar and me, San Francisco versus Berlin. We played on two occasions at Tom Marioni's Society of Independent Artists.
Paul Kos himself claims to have retired from chess (in terms of active sports his focus now appears to be solely on petanque), which is a shame given that he has made some of the most touching chess art around:


Pawn, 1991
2,500 plastic, magnetic chess pieces, steel, and wood
118” x 88” x 11 1/2”

There are no pawns among these 2,500 chess pieces.





Mike Dyar, who I only met on the day of the game at the SIA, brought a chess board and a magazine cover featuring Marcel Duchamp. He also told me that his medium was mail art. It had been a long time since anyone had mentioned mail art to me. He said instead of talking about it I should provide my address, which I did.

A few weeks later I was thrilled to find two envelopes in my mailbox. 




Mike Dyar had mentioned that he sometimes called himself a poet, and rightly so. This is beautiful:


And this.


Mail art is one of those elusive and radical art forms that are rarely exhibited, and I was not even sure that in this age of email physical mail was still employed. It is very exciting to be the recipient of such correspondence. Thank you, Mike!