- 1975-1976 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
34 cm of textual records and graphic material
12 photographs: 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.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series comprises of files pertaining to Michael Bidner’s xerography copy art and the Colour Xerography exhibitions. These materials have been organized by Bidner into 7 curated binders: a binder titled, “Colour Xerox Papers,” a group of five binders each labelled according to the letters X, E, R, O, and X, as well as a “Back-Up” binder of materials. These binders contain documentation of copy art production and exhibition, including original copy art by Bidner and other artists, the Xerox 6500 Colour Copier, artist resumes, press releases, exhibition catalogs and invitations, photocopied newspaper and magazine reviews, photographs, and a few sample prints on fabric. The binders also contain records showing relations between the Xerox Ltd. company and the artists promoting the machine such as project funding, operation costs, technical support and letters from the company to artists and gallery curators. Binders 1 to 6 are subdivided by page separators and have been titled by Bidner; the titles are represented in the content note below. Note that these binders were created by Bidner for personal or professional use and were not shown publically as part of exhibitions. In addition to the binders, this series also includes loose files of similar materials.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are 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
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Related materials: See Biographical materials and Subject files series’ for similar records.
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Name access points
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Originally prepared in 2015