To and From: Davi Det Hompson Correspondents
Special Collections and Archives
James Branch Cabell Library
This web site highlights some of the artist correspondents who are included in the Davi Det Hompson Papers housed in Special Collections and Archives. Each person, whether a collector, book artist, or mail artist, illustrates a different aspect of the multi-dimensional art activity that blossomed during the period of the late 1960s to early 1970s.
The activity of exchanging artwork through the mail in the form of postcards, letters, newsletters, and publications became the basis for the movement known as Mail Art or Correspondence Art. The process of mailing art eliminated all curatorial control. It allowed all interested participants who embraced this aesthetic to form a network that was separate from the existing system of galleries and museums. Mail art exchanges led to the proliferation of new publications and exhibitions that opened opportunities for artists working outside the mainstream art world. This web site introduces five of these passionate artists who networked across the globe via the mail system - long before the advent of the Internet.
David E. Thompson / Davi Det Hompson (1939-1996) was a Richmond artist who exhibited widely in the United States and Europe. His work is included in the collections of a number of museums, including the the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; the New Museum, Museum of Modern Art; Franklin Furnace in New York City; the Archive Sohm in Germany; and the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands. He is best known for his artist's books, mail art, and text-based paintings influenced by the Fluxus and Dada movements. His pen name, Davi Det Hompson, illustrates his interest in manipulating the structure and meaning of the written word.
Born in Sharon, Pennsylvania, Davi Det Hompson received his Bachelor's degree from Anderson College in Indiana and his Master's of Fine Arts from Indiana University. He spent the last twenty years of his life as an active member of the Richmond, Virginia arts community. He was crucial in establishing Richmond's 1708 East Main Street Gallery, served on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Arts Council from 1983-86, and taught at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). In 1979, he served on a volunteer committee that was instrumental to establishing the VCU Book Art Collection. The collection is housed in the Special Collections and Archives department of VCU's James Branch Cabell Library.
Davi Det Hompson's Papers are also housed in VCU's Special Collections and Archives. It includes Mail Art and various types of correspondence between Davi Det Hompson and other notable artists (over 300 correspondents) from 1969 through 1988. For more information about the collection, see the Finding Aid to the Davi Det Hompson Papers.
This site was created by Rebecca Dobyns as part of a summer 2004 internship for her M.L.I.S. studies at the University of Tennessee. "Every time I study their projects, publications, exhibitions and correspondence it increases my admiration for their creative energy and experimental freedom. I hope you will be inspired as well." -- Rebecca Dobyns, 2004.If you have any questions or comments, suggestions for sites to include, please email Special Collections and Archives.
Book Art Collection | Manuscript and Book Collections
Special Collections and Archives
Dana Atchley -- Graphics - Mail Art - Performance - Digital Storytelling
Anna Banana -- Mail Art - Performance - Stamp Art- Self Publishing
Jean Baker Brown -- Book/Mail Art Patron - Collector
Ulises Carrión -- Concrete Poetry - Performance - Book/Mail Art - Self Publishing - Collector