Monday, September 22, 2014

Cavellini 1914-2014

The once-ubiquitous"Cavellini 1914-2014" sticker. 

I must apologize to Guglielmo Achille Cavellini (b. 1914 d.1990).

He authorized me to mount a centennial celebration exhibit at an American museum this year -- but I didn't do it.

I am authorized to organize a Cavellini centennial celebration at an American museum.
Long story.

In late 1984 I was working at TWA Ambassador -- a glossy in-flight magazine -- as an associate art director in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Best job I ever had, by the way.) I was encouraged by my boss, art director Barbara Koster, to come up with visual one-page story ideas. I'd previously had a page published in Ambassador about rubber stamps.

In 1984, Minneapolis and St. Paul seemed to have a lot of round, green-white-red "Cavellini 1914-2014" stickers everywhere. I must have been fascinated by the stickers and I must have done some research and got an address. I wrote to Cavellini about the possibility of doing an article about the sticker.

I was delighted to get back -- via mail, of course -- a bunch of stuff. Including many of the round stickers and a huge variety of other stuff. Books. Photos. Post cards. And an authorization.

Proposed page layout for TWA Ambassador magazine. January 1985. The type is from another story -- put in there to give an idea of the amount of writing I'd hoped would be done for the article.

I did a page layout -- it expanded to two pages -- and sent it and all the stuff over to an editor to have some words written to accompany the visuals. This was in January of 1985. The article was never published, however, because of Carl Icahn. Carl bought TWA and in his effort to squeeze as much money out of it as possible, he took the publishing contract away from the company I worked for and gave it to someone else.

I was out of a job.

But more importantly, the Cavellini article didn't run!

Here we are, thirty years later, I'm looking through the boxes of stuff I can't seem to throw out and I come upon this Cavellini treasure trove.

And the reminder that I am not going to be mounting a centennial celebration for the guy.

But hey -- I can mount a celebration on the internet, right?

Hey, Mister Cavellini! R.I.P.! Happy 100th!

In conclusion, here are a couple more interesting bits sent to me by Cavellini.

Cavellini's ten commandments. A postcard. I believe he broke every commandment. (As always, click for a closer view.)

Self portrait with stickers. He had a lot of stickers . . . 

. . . an awful lot of stickers.

A sticker. Cavellini loves the postal service.

Self portraits with a clown theme.

A sticker illustrating Cavellini's place in the bull of art history.

"Operation Round-Trip No. 2897" -- the front. Cavellini doing the mail-art thing. He dressed up and sent back an envelope that I originally sent to him (probably sending him some sample magazines). 

"Operation Round-Trip No. 2897" -- the back. "A work of Art by Cavellini to be framed and hung on the wall. 30 1/2 x 45 1/2." (I haven't framed it yet. Another regret.)


Andy Sturdevant said...

What an amazing bunch of artifacts. I was in Budapest this summer, and sure enough, the contemporary museum there had mounted a Cavellini retrospective. As far as I can tell, no American museums mounted a retrospective of his work this year. Which seems like a shame.

David Steinlicht said...

Andy, I blame myself.

But seriously, in browsing around the internet, I've seen that there was at least one Cavellini retrospective in the US -- not at a major museum, though.