February 5, 2023 | 2:00pm
The Wende Museum

Mail Art Across Borders and Media: A Conversation Between Zanna Gilbert and Sven Spieker

In conjunction with our exhibition For Ruth, The Sky: Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz, Zanna Gilbert and Sven Spieker will engage in a conversation about international mail art, with some focus on the practice of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz. Starting from concrete examples, they will discuss the aesthetic, logistical, and socio-political aspects of mail art and its global distribution across geopolitical divides.

Zanna Gilbert is senior research specialist at the Getty Research Institute. She completed her PhD at the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex, UK, in collaboration with Tate Research. She was previously Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, where she was founding co-editor of MoMA’s online publication post. Her research focuses on transnational conceptual art, feminist art, concrete art and poetry, Xerox art, and the international mail art network. She was co-curator of the exhibition Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros at the J. Paul Getty Museum (2017-2018) and co-editor of the recent publication Purity is a Myth: The Materiality of Concrete Art in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay (Getty Publications, 2021).

Sven Spieker teaches in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the Comparative Literature Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He specializes in modern and contemporary art, aesthetic and critical theory, and global and transnational art and art history. His books and articles have appeared in English, German, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Albanian, and Polish. He is a co-founder of the Working Group Cultures of World Socialism, and the founding editor of ARTMargins. His latest book publication is an edited volume devoted to the relationship between art and destruction (Destruction, MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery, 2017). Forthcoming books include The Art of Demonstration: A Revolutionary Recasting of Knowledge (MIT Press, 2024) and Akusmatik als Labor (ed. with Mario Asef, Koenigshausen Neumann, 2022). Spieker is also working on a book project entitled Socialist Exhibition Cultures: International Art Exhibitions in the Socialist World, 1950-1990.

Join us in the Wende Garden in the leadup to the program from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. for an all-ages Mail Art craft, inviting visitors to use reproductions of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt’s typewritings as a foundation for new creative designs.

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