The TAM-Archive

Just got an e-mail from Klaus Groh (Germany). He has just moved and wanted me to have his new address. In the message he also mentioned he moved from 300 m2 to 90 m2, and I know what something like that means. The archive and books he has collected over the years have to be moved to new places and or collections to take care of them.

It is the problem of networkers that are active for a longer time. Where to leave the collection you build up when you have to move to a smaller place.

So I focus now on the TAM-Arcive. When I started with mail-art in 1980, I lived quite small in TIlburg, and the appartment was filled quite well. When I moved with my partner and wife to Breda, we build a larger place with Atelier and enough place to keep the acrhive of bith TAM and the Fluxus Heidelberg Archive.  But this won’t last for another 30 years. We will move on for sure and will have to think of what to do with the collections.

One part of the TAM-Archive already found a good home. All mail from Easter-Germany that I received in the 80-ies was sent to the Schwerin Museum in now united Germany. The Schwerin Museum lies in the former Easter-Germany, so I found it ideal to have the outlet of artists from then going back to the collection of a larger institute that treasures the history.

I do treasure the book collection. All kind of books and catalogs on the subjects of mail-art and Fluxus which are rare and not easily to be found elsewhere. Also I have a collection of lots of Artistamps that are bundled in albums.  The correspondence is a larger problem. Lots of boxes with unsorted mailings, boxed ones every few years yo keep it archived. The stampsheets of the TAM-Rubberstamp Archive, that were actually exhibited too in San Francisco (1996), Moscow (2004) and New York (2010).  The collection from Moscow never returned (another sad story), but the collection from New York did return after a struglle, and is now back in Breda. There is also the large collection of orriginal rubberstamps. Also own designs, eraser carved rubberstamos, and lots of donations from the network.

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Another large collection is the Mail-Inteview Project. Every correspondence with the interviewed persons is kept in a portfolio, and that is quite a treasure because the correspondence also meant exhanging questions, answers and artifacts to explain the whole idea. I have offered the collection to the MoMa, but they didn’t react yet. Maybe they will realize somewhere in the future they missed out on lots of correspondence with some old-times in the network where some of those already passed away (like Edgardo Antonio Vigo, Ray Johnson, Dick Higgins, and lots more interesting names).

So, after the e-mail from Klaus Groh I am triggered again to think of the fact that I will have to face the probem too, of where to go to with the collection. No hurry now. I have the space, and sometimes also send items for exhibitons, but a more permanent solution must be found. Also an essential part of networking.

Ruud, May 14th 2017.

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