Art's Birthday Fax Project 1997


In 1963, Robert Filliou declared January 17th to be Art's 1,000,000th Birthday. He proposed the idea of a paid public holiday to celebrate it and the German city of Aachen [in 1973] took him up on it. "Art was declared to be 1,000,000 years old. Children were let out of school, bands played and everyone had a good time," says a communication from the ART'S BIRTHDAY FAX EXCHANGE.

In his proposal, Filliou suggested starting with a one day paid holiday, then making it two days, then three, four and so on until art was celebrated on 365 days. In this way "art will eventually come back to the people, where it first appeared," he suggested.

"While we still have a long way to go (another million years perhaps?) the Art's Birthday idea has indeed been growing," writes [a participant on the] Fax Exchange. It was celebrated in Aix-la-Chapelle, France in 1973, and the mailart network called "Deccadance" held a huge celebration in Hollywood in 1974. In 1990 the idea was taken up by Canadian Artist Run Centers and is now observed every year. Some Centers have approached their mayors and had the day officially declared as 'Artists' Day'. Others use it as an opportunity to throw a party, have a parade or mount a protest.

The Art's Birthday Fax Project says that January 17 has become a day to feature the continuing struggle for artists' rights and to recognize the importance of the artist's role in society.



The idea of the fax exchange is simply to exchange any image you want, via fax, with like-minded individuals around the planet. Anyone interested in participating can fax to any of the numbers below. The Project asks that you please reply with the FAX number at your end and that if you're setting this machine up in your home for limited hours, please specify exactly what those hours will be. Suggested (but not all verified) fax numbers are:

Digital Art Exchange (DAX) Pittsburgh, Bruce Breland, 509-535-0111

Niagara Artists' Centre, St. Catherines, Ontario, 905-641-0331

Le Lieu, Quebec, 418-529-9680

Western Front, Vancouver, 604-876-4099

Tetsuo Kogawa, Tokyo Goethe Gallery, Japan, 81-3-3576-0045

Sauve, France, 33-5353-195, 33-66-77-0210

For more information contact Arts Birthday Fax Exchange, email: Pedro at

Details available on Arts Wire (AWNEWS Item 98)

(From Artswire Current - January 14, 1997
Volume #6 No. #2
Judy Malloy, Editor