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Greeting cards as art

family christmas cards

What do you do with all the greeting cards you receive? Keep them in a pile and then eventually recycle them? Perhaps you keep a hand-selected group, storing them in a box. Or maybe you put the greeting cards on display in your house.

Think of that greeting card display as a display of art.

Greeting cards as art? Yes. Greeting cards often have visuals that make send a message. The message can vary just as in art. Greeting cards can convey empathy, humor, love—these are just some of human emotions expressed in greeting cards.

The inside of the card has a personal touch. A human hand inscribing a message, signing a name. Just as art has the human touch on a physical surface. (Even the envelope is a sort of work of art. I keep all my Christmas card envelopes.)

Are some greeting cards too silly to be considered art? Well, look at the work of the artists known as “Harry Who” in the Art Institute collection. Art can be silly. Art can be empathetic. Art can be personal. Greeting cards can be art.

Two weeks ago, I recorded a podcast about postcards and greeting cards as art. Today the Art Institute of Chicago confirms my approach.

In their collection of ART is a greeting card. Yes. A greeting card as art.

The Joys of Love (valentine)
The Joys of Love (valentine)
c. 1850
Artist: Unknown Artist
English, 19th century

Thank you. Thank you.

By the way, I came across this art of greeting card in a most delightful way. The Art Institute of Chicago released a new Chrome add-on, Art Tab, that displays a different work of art in every new tab you open. I altered the code of the add-on to make the art completely cover my entire browser window.

Today, I opened a new tab, and this is what I saw:

Screenshot of greeting card image filling my Chrome browser

Upon seeing this, I said, YES YES! GREETING CARDS AS ART. IT’S IN THE ART INSTITUTE’S VERY COLLECTION.

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