McSweeney's #17 and Envelope

Friday, December 09, 2005

I heard about McSweeney's - it's something of a literary journal with a giant twist - and ordered their issue #17 (they're up to #18 now - it's a quarterly), which came in the mail to look like....a stack of mail.

This is how it's described on their website:

Issue 17 is not an ordinary issue of McSweeney's. It is, however, an ordinary-looking bundle of mail, stacked and rubber-banded, containing the usual items: a recent issue of Yeti Researcher; a large envelope, called Envelope, containing fine oversized reproductions of new art; a sausage-basket catalog; a flyer for slashed prices on garments that are worn by more than one person at a time; a new magazine of experimental fiction called Unfamiliar; a couple letters... the usual. This might be the strangest and most pleasure-giving issue yet.

I thought it was okay, but what I **really** liked was the piece they enclosed called 'Envelope'. In the welcome letter, 'Envelope' is described as a prospective periodical for artwork. The editor writes, "if you like to read, you have many options to own the work of a writer you enjoy: you can buy magazines that contain their latest work, and you can own their work in hardcover or paperback. Music appreciators can of course buy CDs by their favorite music-makers. But new art is hard to see and hard to own. A new painter can work for two years to prepare for a gallery show, and that show might only be seen by the 300 or so people who drop into the gallery over the course of a month. Artists' monographs and the many excellent art magazines help contemporary art reach more viewers, but still, something seems missing: the sense of owning something by that artist."

True! So if you're interested in getting updates or more information about Envelope, this is the website (I guess they're in the midst of updating it).

Inside the Envelope envelope were small works (perfect for putting on the refrigerator or pinning on a board or framing or....) by: Manuel Ocampo, David Byrne, Jaime Scholnick, Camille Rose Garcia, Clare Rojas, Salomon Huerta, Tucker Nichols, Georgeanne Deen, Steve Klamm, Jasiu Krajewski, and the famous-and-wonderful Mark Ryden.

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