Fonds - Morris/Trasov Archive fonds

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Morris/Trasov Archive fonds

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  • 1969-1996, predominant 1969-1974 (Creation)
    Morris/Trasov Archive

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Physical description

50 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

Encompassing the collaborative art practice of Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov, the Morris/Trasov Archive also includes material generated by Morris and Trasov individually as artists under multiple pseudonyms, as well as material collected by Morris and Trasov. The Morris/Trasov Archive was conceived and initiated as Image Bank in 1969 and subsequently named the Morris/Trasov Archive some time after 1977. The Image Bank system of correspondence by mail for exchange of information and ideas between artists became active in 1969. In 1970 Morris, Trasov and Gary Lee Nova collaborated to produce film such as Rainbow Picnic for the National Film Board of Canada, and work with props such as Colour Bars and Dots, mirrors and light-on studies, later photographed, videotaped, and filmed in collaboration with other artists including Robert Cummings and Dana Atchley. In spring 1970, Trasov assumed the alias of Mr. Peanut and Morris Marcel Dot, collaborating with artists Eric Metcalfe as Dr. Brute and Kate Craig as Lady Brute, and Peter Daglish. Since 1967 Morris (and later Trasov) corresponded with Ray Johnson, and were exhibited in Johnson's 1970 New York Correspondence School shown at the Whitney Museum, New York. The Image Bank commenced sending lists of participants and their image requests, published first in monthly Image Bank mailings and later in File magazine as directories and Request Lists, and maintained files of artists' correspondence and research. In 1971 Morris showed A Room with Props at the Vancouver Art Gallery including Mirror and Colour Research drawings and notes, and Image Bank Post Card Show was exhibited at the University of British Columbia Fine Arts Gallery; with General Idea, Toronto, Image Bank produced Fire Mirror Video as a video exchange work, and Marcel Dot became the first Miss General Idea at the Art Gallery of Ontario. 1972 began with an annual report Legal Tender from Image Bank; other projects in 1972 included 1984, Marcel Duchamp Fan Club Cultural Ecology Project, the publication of Image Bank's International Exchange Directory, Colour Bar research with General idea and Robert Cummings at Babyland near Roberts Creek, British Columbia, as well as collaboration with Robert Fones and John Dowd. Morris and Trasov assisted in the 1973 founding of the Western Front, an artist run centre in Vancouver, which was later to house Image Bank, which in that year presented a network project at the Muse d'art modern de la Ville de Paris, as well as collaborating with Lowell Darling and Robert Filliou. From 1974 Morris and Trasov continued to participate in the development of Western Front, and to pursue network correspondence, with publications, such as the 1976 Image Bank Network Sampler, and exhibitions such as the 1977 second Post Card Show and edition.

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The fonds consists of material related to Image Bank, including the Image Exchange Directory, to exhibitions such as 1984, Post Card Shows, to projects such as Colour Bars, Cultural Ecology, to events such as Art's Birthday, Decca Dance, Miss General Idea Pageant (and Pavilion), to collaborative encounters and work with artists such as Robert Filliou, General Idea, Robert Fones, Robert Cummings, Ray Johnson, John Dowd, Anna Banana, Bill Gaglione, Eric Metcalfe, Kate Craig, John Jack Baylin, Herv Fischer, Victor Cavellini, Hermann Nitsch and Fluxus artists, as well as a mayoralty campaign by Mr. Peanut, artist run centre development at the Western Front, and to numerous publications such as in File magazine, catalogues and editions of cards, and to other activities as artists, including the collection and preservation of art and artist related material. The collection consists both of Morris' and Trasov's individual fonds as artists as well as their collective fonds, and additionally of an extensive collection of material complementing these personal papers, including books, periodicals, and other published material as well as art in multiple forms and media, including artists books, moving image and sound recordings, books, collages, correspondence, ephemera, exhibition catalogues, found objects, mailings, magazines, multiples and editions of cards, photographic prints, negatives, slides and transparencies, postcards, posters, drawings, prints, and other forms and media extending physically to over fifty linear metres.

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BCAUL control number: MHB-4

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