- 1965-1989 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
3.71 m of textual records and graphic material
4 rubber stamps
3 screen prints
Name of creator
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.
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
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
Subject access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Rules for Archival Description
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Description and finding aid prepared by Kira Baker, 2015.
Uploaded and adapted by Nirvana Chainani, 2019