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Mungo Thomson

8.5 x 10.25 inches, 404 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-1-941753-34-7

Design by Mungo Thomson and Brody Albert

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For Mail, artist Mungo Thomson (b. 1969, Davis, CA) asked The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles to redirect all their incoming mail to the galleries, where it would accumulate unopened during the run of the 2018 exhibition, Stories for Almost Everyone. Over the course of the 4-month show, a massive pile of correspondence and packages grew. Part sculpture, part institutional critique, and part timepiece, Thomson’s Mail produced a temporary archive of institutional correspondence. At the conclusion of the show, Thomson documented this archive by photographing every item in the pile. These photographs are collected in this new book.

The design of the book loosely mimics a common shipping product catalog, over 30 of which were in the mail pile. Thomson’s photography of the items in the mail pile at the Hammer was undertaken with this catalog design in mind. Every letter, package, notice, magazine, flyer, restaurant menu, exhibition postcard, vendor catalog, artist contribution and piece of junk mail is represented in the book. Further, collections of like things have been arranged and photographed on a seamless backdrop in the style of product photography for a vendor catalog

The book functions both as an artwork and as an elaborate and exhaustive documentation of the work as realized by the artist. Featuring an essay by Hammer Museum curator Aram Moshayedi, Mail performs a kind of autopsy of the sculpture, displaying every facet and revealing the infrastructure of both the artwork and the museum.