The accessibility and familiarity of a postcard makes it an artistic medium rich with potential for subversion, appropriation, or manipulation for political, satirical, revolutionary, or playful intent. The inexpensiveness of production encourages artists to experiment with their design; the only artistic restriction: that it fits through the mailbox slot. Unlike traditional works of art, the postcard requires nothing more than a stamp for it to be seen on the other side of the world. Made of commonplace material, postcards invite handling, asking to be picked up, turned over, and shown to friends—to be included in our lives.
The World Exists to Be Put on a Postcard features postcards, several reproduced at actual size, designed by notable modern and contemporary artists, including Carl Andre, Eleanor Antin, Joseph Beuys, Tacita Dean, Gilbert & George, Richard Hamilton, Susan Hiller, Richard Long, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Dieter Roth, Gavin Turk, Mark Wallinger, Rachel Whiteread, and Hannah Wilke, many of which are published here for the first time. Organized thematically into chapters, such as “Graphic Postcards,” “Political Postcards,” “Portrait Postcards,” and “Composite Postcards,” this book demonstrates the significance of artists’ postcards in contemporary art.
Jeremy Cooper has written and published widely on art and antiques. He has also published four novels, and he won the 2018 Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize. Jeremy has extensive art market experience: as a Sotheby’s auctioneer; in his own business as a specialist antiques dealer; as an expert on the twenty-four episodes of BBC TV’s Antiques Roadshow; and as a co-presenter of Radio 4’s The Week’s Antiques. He curates specialist exhibitions of contemporary British drawings and is a collector of historic postcard work by Dieter Roth, Richard Hamilton, Carl Andre, Claes Oldenburg, and many others.