- 1975–1983 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
41 cm of textual records and graphic material
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 material such as files, master copies and dummy copies pertaining to the print publications which Michael Bidner produced or co-produced. These publications include Adz magazine, Rude magazine, Rag magazine booklet, and the London District Union newspaper. In 1976, Bidner launched Adz, which he described as “the magazine as art” and was put out under AMSDAS Publishing (Adz Magazine Subscription Deposit Account Service). Adz was designed to be a magazine with up to 1,000 issues each with print runs of varying size. Bidner created his own issues or invited other artists to compose an issue. Issues were typically named with a single word followed by a number, for example “Bus 24” (numbers did not indicate a unified sequence). The envisioned run of 1,000 issues was never completed. Bidner went on to produce Rude magazine, co-founded with printmaker and owner of Acme Print & Litho, Joe Thomas. The magazine ran from 1977-1983 and operated out of two facilities located in London and Stratford. It was largely printed on found paper acquired by Bidner from various sources. Nine issues of Rude magazine were published. Also during this time, Bidner created Rag magazine (1979-198?) in partnership with Don Gaul and Gary Jack. Rag magazine is a half-sized zine booklet, or a “streetwise chapbook”; six issues were produced. The London District Union (1979-1980) was an arts-based local paper for London, Ontario which published only four issues as a market trial before folding. Carol Off, the television and radio journalist, was an editor for the London District Union.
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 also Series 5: Subject files and Series 1: Biographical materials, which contain similar records.
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Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
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Dates of creation revision deletion
Originally prepared in 2015