Fonds - Mr. Peanut collection

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Mr. Peanut collection

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the collection.

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  • [197-] (Creation)
    Mr. Peanut

Physical description area

Physical description

5.5 cm of graphic material and objects

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Archival description area

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Biographical history

Between 1969 and 1974 the artist Vincent Trasov (b. 1947) appropriated the persona (and appearance) of the iconic advertising mascot, Mr. Peanut. As Mr. Peanut, Trasov, with the assistance of artist John Mitchell, orchestrated a performance art event running for mayor in the Vancouver mayoralty campaign of 1974. During the twenty day race, Mr. Peanut appeared at candidates meetings and similar events with the other mayoral hopefuls. During these events, Mitchell spoke for Mr. Peanut who remained silent, but managed to shake up the usually staid election process and also brought increased media attention to the city. Mr. Peanut ran on a platform of P for performance, E for elegance, A for Art, N for nonsense, U for uniqueness and T for talent and served as a symbol for artists and their aspirations. Mr. Peanut lost the race, but won 3.4% of the vote. After 1974, Trasov retired the Mr. Peanut costume, but Mr. Peanut imagery and the “Mr. Peanut for Mayor” campaign continued to inform his artistic practice.

Custodial history

These materials were originally part of the Morris/Trasov Archive (currently on extended loan to the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery). Vincent Trasov created a Peanut Edition from materials in the Morris/Trasov Archive to accompany the peanut costume, which the gallery acquired for its permanent collection in 2000. The Peanut Edition was originally accessioned to the Belkin’s art collection, but was later determined to be better suited to its archival holdings. It was transferred to the archive in 2008.

Scope and content

The collection contains materials generated by Vincent Trasov relating to the Mr. Peanut character in general and to the 1974 mayoralty campaign and materials generated by others relating to the same subject. The collection contains predominantly graphic materials in the form of ephemera (cards, placemats, stationary, and the like) as well as objects such as ceramic peanuts and a commemorative plate.

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Associated materials

Record relating to Mr. Peanut and the art practice of Vincent Trasov can be found in the Morris/Trasov Archive.

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Created December 18, 2010.

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