Receipt of Delivery is a weekly series featuring Bay Area exhibition mailers selected from the SFMOMA Research Library’s collection of artists’ ephemera.
Today let us bow to the Mail Queen, aka Patricia Tavenner,and her long reign as a contributor to and curator within the global network of mail art and artists’ stamps. The Oakland-based artist adopted this nom de plume around the time that she began teaching courses on the “hidden” history of women artists. In 1972 she cofounded the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art and participated in a number of museum protests along with fellow feminist activists like Jo Hanson (one of the postcard recipients below). Associated with Bay Area Dada, a number of whom are pictured below, Tavenner self-published the newspaper Mail Order Art (1971–72) and artists’ books under the Eternal Press.
Patricia Tavenner, 1973, postcard; 5 1/2 in. x 3 1/2 in. (13.97 cm x 8.89 cm)
Patricia Tavenner, DECCA DANCE AFTER IMAGE, 1974; postcard; 5 1/2 in. x 3 1/2 in. (13.97 cm x 8.89 cm); pictured: Irene Dogmatic, Opal L. Nations, Dr. Brute, Pat Tavenner, Rick Ross; sent to Jo Hanson.
Patricia Tavenner, The Royal Tour-Fluxus East Visits The Eternal City, 1974; postcard; 3 1/2 in. x 5 1/2 in. (8.89 cm x 13.97 cm); left to right: Bill Gaglione, Opal L. Nations, Monte Cazazza, Pat Tavenner, Tjeerd Deelstra, Irene Dogmatic, Anna Banana. Sent to Jo Hanson.
Patricia Tavenner, 1975 card; 4 1/4 in. x 5 3/4 in. (10.8 cm x 14.61 cm)
Patricia Tavenner, postcard from the ongoing series Change of address requested (verso), 1978; 5 in. x 7 in. (12.7 cm x 17.78 cm)
Patricia Tavenner, 1973; Mylar, coupon booklet, stamp, label; overall approx. 3 1/4 in. x 6 in. (8.26 cm x 15.24 cm)
Patricia Tavenner, 1973; typed text on payroll deduction cards, stamp, label; 3 1/4 in. x 7 1/2 in. (8.26 cm x 19.05 cm) [click to enlarge]
Patricia Tavenner, 1972; three postcards with stapled cyanotype-print labels; each: 3 1/4 in. x 5 1/2 in. (8.26 cm x 13.97 cm)
Patricia Tavenner – The Eternal Press, Four Years and More order form, 1979; 8 1/2 in. x 14 in. (21.59 cm x 35.56 cm) [click to enlarge]
Patricia Tavenner, two holiday postcards, 1974 and 1977; each: 5 1/2 in. x 3 1/2 in. (13.97 cm x 8.89 cm)
The Eternal Press, 1984; rubber stamp on glossy card; 1 1/2 in. x 9 in. (3.81 cm x 22.86 cm)
“Mail Art is anything that comes through the mail and is named by the sender as art. It is the most democratic of art movements. Anyone can do it, anyone can become involved, and every product is considered creative.” — Patricia Tavenner