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Dear 33020

April 1—May 1, 2017


Margaret Roleke and Lisa Rockford

From April 1 – May 1, Artspace’s Orange Street Window will display a slowly unfolding postcard correspondence between Connecticut based artist, Margaret Roleke, and Florida based artist, Lisa Rockford. Each day, Rockford will write to Roleke, sending the postcard to Artspace. Artspace will photograph both sides of the postcard, send it to Roleke, and add the postcard to the storefront exhibition space on Crown Street. Artspace will add 1 postcard a day, eventually filling up a grid of 60 postcards. Simultaneously, the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, Florida will document, share and mount correspondence from Roleke to Rockford.

This project is about communication, miscommunication and shared interests. These artists are strangers, but both participated in the Women’s March and related mass demonstrations following the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. The correspondence explores an increasingly obsolete mode of communicating across time, geographies, professional boundaries and political differences. The cards will be passed between many hands across 1,350 miles of terrain. The production route starts in a private studio, enters the U.S. Postal Service (a government service), and lands in exhibition spaces that are unfamiliar to each artist. Each individual who touches them may take on the role of coproducer, collaborator, or audience member.

The Postcards are unique in the openness of their handmade designs. While each postcard will measure 5×7 inches, Roleke and Rockford must decide how much information to communicate via image or text. They must also decide if they want to address a primary audience or multiple audiences, which could range from one another, to the post office workers who carry their cards, the staff at Artspace or ACCHF, and audiences in New Haven and Florida. On the 101st day of the new administration’s time in office, the project will come to a close. At this point, the grid may reveal a unified larger image that can be read as a whole. This project is also grounded in the power of cultivating friendship, new and old, over distance and time. The act of cultivating a friendship requires maintenance, joy, humor and mutual care.

The project was conceived as a partnership between Laura Marsh, Curator of Exhibitions at the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, Florida (ACCH) and Artspace Curator, Sarah Fritchey. Marsh recently left New Haven after living in the city from 2007-2016, and founded NO POP, an incubator art space and project that lives on in Florida. Marsh and Fritchey will continue this coast-to-coast partnership in the year ahead, experimenting with ways to introduce local audiences to artists working in different parts of the country.