Fonds LA.SC033 - Michael Bidner fonds

Identity area

Reference code

LA.SC033

Title

Michael Bidner fonds

Date(s)

  • 1965-1989 (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

3.71 m of textual records and graphic material
1044 photographs
4 rubber stamps
3 screen prints

Context area

Name of creator

(1944-1989)

Biographical history

Michael Bidner (1944-1989) was an Ontario artist who worked in print and mixed media, perhaps best known for his works in xerography and mail art. Born in London, Ontario, Bidner graduated from the technical high school H.B. Beal Secondary and briefly attended the Ontario College of Art before dropping out to pursue his art independently. During his career, Bidner worked with various media, including silkscreening, collage, slides, photography, and video. Bidner used the name “Cloud” in some of his projects and often incorporated the shape of an upside down “Y” as a signature symbol. In the 1970s, Bidner produced or co-created a number of alternative art-based publications: Adz magazine (founder), Rag magazine (co-founder), and Rude magazine (co-founder/art director). In the mid-1970s, Xerox Canada Ltd. provided the McIntosh Gallery at the University of Western Ontario with one of their new colour copier machines to help promote its use. In the spring of 1976, Michael Bidner and artist Michael Hayden exhibited their copy art and led a number of public workshops. Later that year, Bidner and Hayden were part of the “Colour Xerography” group show at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which also included the work of
Jaan Poldaas, Flavio Belli, Barbara Astman, and Robert Arn.

Bidner was also interested in philately and mail art, coining the term “artistamp” to refer to his postage art. In 1984, he organized the first international exhibition of mail art, titled “Artistampex,” in London, Ontario. Networking and letter-writing with mail artists in Canada and abroad, Bidner began compiling a groundbreaking database of artists and artwork entitled “Standard Artistamp Catalogue and Handbook.” Unfortunately, his declining health prevented him from finishing the project. Following unsuccessful attempts to place his collection at a Canadian art institution, Bidner’s personal collection of original postage art was given to the Artpool Art Research Center in Budapest, Hungary in 1989. Michael Bidner
passed away of AIDS in 1989.

Archival history

The materials now constituting the Michael Bidner fonds were donated to the AGO in 1990 through Flavio
Belli, one of the executors of Michael Bidner’s estate. Preparations and physical transfer of the materials
began in 1989, before Michael Bidner’s death.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

AGO Credit Line: Gift of Flavio Belli, 1990.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Fonds consists of personal and professional records of Michael Bidner, primarily created during the mid-
1970s to 1989. Files pertain to various projects during Bidner’s artistic career and include working files,
artwork, the artist’s publications, correspondence, ephemera, photographs and slides.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

No further accruals expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more
information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is held by the Estate of Michael Bidner. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of
photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain
permission to publish any part of the fonds.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Pages of photocopied art may be slightly adhered to each other from ink. Please handle pages carefully
and consult archivist if needed.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Michael Bidner fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives. These materials were donated by
Michael Bidner in 1972-1984 upon request from the National Gallery and consist of 28.5 cm of textual
records and 3 photographs.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Art Gallery of Ontario

Rules and/or conventions used

Rules for Archival Description

Status

Final

Level of detail

Partial

Dates of creation revision deletion

7-Jul-15

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Archivist's note

Description and finding aid prepared by Kira Baker, 2015.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

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