- ca.1970 –1989 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
1.78 m of textual records and graphic material
817 photographs: 34 prints, 531 negatives, 252 slides
3 screen prints
4 rubber stamps
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 materials related to various projects of Michael Bidner, organized by particular art pieces, projects, exhibitions, events, or other artists or collaborators. These records were either organized by Bidner in labelled folders or mixed together as loose files. Subject matter pertains to Artario ’72, Video Water Works art piece, Say Cheese, Trajectory exhibition, Centre for Experimental Art and Communication exhibition, Ian Hutton manuscript materials, and miscellaneous records. Records of the Colour Xerox Papers, Artistamp, Rude, Rag, Adz magazines are also amongst these files. Materials include collage work, copy art, correspondence, sample prints, catalogs, posters, flyers, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, as well as photographs, slides, negatives, and contact prints.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected
System of arrangement
Certain records within the file listing may pertain to particular projects from other series. To preserve their original context, however, the records were not selectively rearranged. Many works and imagery also interrelate and consistently discerning specific project groupings of these materials is also difficult for archival purposes.
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
File titles reflect Michael Bidner’s original file sequence. Loose material has been grouped into files by the archivist and kept in the original order in which it was found; file titles for this material have been given in square brackets .
Related materials: Several books and magazines not produced by Bidner and otherwise widely accessible were removed from the fonds. A list is available upon request.
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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