Buster Cleveland, ‘Modern Art’, 1986, International Collage Center

Collection International Collage Center

Image rights: © Estate of Buster Cleveland / Image provided by International Collage Center

Gift of the Estate of Buster Cleveland

About Buster Cleveland

Best known for his collages based on covers of Artforum magazine, Buster Cleveland, né James Trenholm, was a long-time proponent of the “Mail Art” movement—pioneered by his friend Ray Johnson—and a member of the Bay Area and Mendocino Neo-Dadaist groups in the 1970s. Shortly after arriving in New York in the 1980s, Cleveland met Gracie Mansion, who became his dealer. As she didn’t then have a gallery, in 1981 they rented a limousine, parked it in the heart of SoHo, and opened the “Limo Show,” inviting passersby into the back seat to view Cleveland’s work. Many of Cleveland’s works from the ’80s and ’90s were composed of poured plastic, into which he embedded toys and other consumer items such as automobile hood ornaments. To his Artforum collages, Cleveland added photographic self-portraits and pictures of friends, logos from cigarette packs, and Pop Art images, before making prints of them and reducing them to postcard size for use as Mail Art.

American, 1943-1998