Whitebox Art Center


Exhibition on view November 1 – 30, 2014
Tuesday through Saturday | 11am to 6pm

Opening, Performances, and Poetry Readings
Honoring GAC. (Guglielmo Achille Cavellini)
Saturday, November 15 | 6 to 10pm

A survey exhibition of Cavellini’s artworks alongside a Mail-Art show exploring the themes of GAC / Cavellini, Ego and Self-Historification. Culled from Archives + Contemporary

Mail Art. Curated by Mark Bloch.

Link to images and press packet

Cavellini Festival-Parallel Events

From Self-Historification to Selfies: A  GAC fest in New York City-
A celebration of the centenary 1914-2014 of Guglielmo Achille Cavellini
November 14 to 16 2014

Friday, November 14 | 5:30 – 7:30PM
Museum of Modern Art
Analog Network: Mail Art, 1960-1999
An exhibition charting the course of the vast underground international DIY (do it yourself) art by mail movement 1960-1999.

Saturday, November 15 | 12 – 2PM
Richard L. Feigen and Company
“Ray Johnson’s Art World” exhibition on view Nov. 7, 2014 – Jan. 16, 2015.

Saturday, November 15 | 3 – 5PM
Works by Cavellini, music and performances

Sunday, November 16 | 9:30AM – 12PM
Katz Deli
New York Correspondence Brunch Meeting
in honor of Cavellini and Ray Johnson, Buster Cleveland, John Evans
and our other late New York mail artists.

New York City- Cavellini 1914 – 2014 is a survey exhibition of Cavellini’s artworks alongside a Mail Art show exploring the themes of GAC / Cavellini, Ego and Self–Historification. Culled from Archives and received from the contemporary Mail Art network. Curated by Mark Bloch.

Guglielmo Achille Cavellini was way ahead of Jay Z, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst in self-promotion and used techniques much more effective and more interesting than selfies to make himself famous using social media but he did so before social media existed as we
know it today. He used the mail.

He wasn’t just famous for being famous like Paris Hilton or Zsa Zsa Gabor, he elevated it to an art form. Mark Bloch, a former correspondent of Cavellini and a young, upcoming artist at the time, received a red, white and green certificate by mail in 1979 assigning him the task of having an exhibition about Cavellini in honor of the Cavellini Centenial in the year 2014 at an American museum. Thirty five years later, Bloch felt compelled to realize this dream of his pen pal, the maestro of self-historification Cavellini and so he contacted several museums expressing this desire. Realizing that the MoMA Library represented his best chance of achieving his goal, he patiently awaited their reply, keeping in touch for over a year. When they finally agreed to host an event for Cavellini, Bloch built a festival around it. Guglielmo Achille Cavellini of Brescia, Italy was a wealthy and distinguished European art collector who eventually remade himself and became an international celebrity by inventing and becoming the subject his own art form and cult of personality, “autostoricizzazione” or self-historification.

By 1974, Autostoricizzazione spread when he designed 16 museums posters he later called “manifestos,” commemorating his own centennial celebration in 2014 at the world’s greatest museums. This New York Cavellini Festival including this exhibition at Whitebox Art Center is the direct result of that work which has captured the attention of the public ever since. “What will happen in 2014?” people have wondered for forty years, especially after Cavellini died in 1990. Since he loved maps of Italy and the Italian flag tricolors, Cavellini created the “Cavellini sticker,” a round industrial quality sticker in red, white and green that bore the dates of his Centennial: 1914-2014 and sent these all over the world. He found his audience and became a celebrity as he ventured into the exploding international postal art network of the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Cavellini began to write his autobiography by hand in his distinctive handwriting with a felt tip marker anywhere he could — on naked models, globes, and other objects as well as on clothes which he would then wear.

He compiled exhibitions of his work by publishing them in beautifully made books and catalogues translated into several languages. He
would then send these books to anyone who asked in elegant packaging as a “living room exhibition,” one-man shows in people’s homes across the world. With this technique he catapulted himself to #1 status as the artist in the world with the most shows. Unlike so many other art forms, the world would not have needed to invent “autostoricizzazione” because it has always been around in various forms but G.A.C. or Achille Cavellini as he was known, rescued it from tedium with style and a much needed sense of humor. He did so in the art world, a special zone where hubris knows no bounds, decades years before selfies, Jeff Koons and celebrity worship took hold. 2014 can thus be a year not of self-historification for Cavellini but of appreciation by us of a once frustrated “one percenter” who chose to create, not collect, to give and not receive, and took NOT the road less traveled but one very overused during his own time and today in need of a major infrastructure overhaul. Guglielmo Achille Cavellini would have liked to have saved humanity but instead he made the world safe for humility.

Link to curator Mark Bloch

The programs of Whitebox Art Center are made possible in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs .

Whitebox Art Center DCA sponsor