Archive of Correspondence
For Mail, artist Mungo Thomson (b. 1969, Davis, CA) asked The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to let their incoming mail accumulate unopened during the run of the 2013 exhibition, Stories for Almost Everyone. Over the course of the show a pile of correspondence and packages grew, forming a temporary archive and timepiece. It is part sculpture, part institutional critique, part clock.
The book functions both as an artwork and as an elaborate and exhaustive documentation of the work as realized by the artist. Featuring an essay by Hammer Museum curator Aram Moshayedi, Mail performs a kind of autopsy of the sculpture, displaying every facet, and revealing the infrastructure of both the artwork and the museum.
The design of the book loosely mimics a popular mail-order catalog. Thomson’s photography of the items in the mail pile at the Hammer was undertaken with this catalog design in mind. Every letter, package, notice, magazine, flyer, restaurant menu, exhibition postcard, vendor catalog, and piece of junk mail is represented. Further, collections of like things have been arranged and photographed on a seamless backdrop in the style of product photography for a vendor catalog.