Mail art (also known as postal art and correspondence art) is a populist artistic movement centered on sending small scale works through postal services. It initially developed out of the Fluxus movement in the 1950s and 60s, though it has since developed into a global movement that continues to the present. The American artist Ray Johnson is considered to be the first mail artist, and the New York Correspondence School that he developed is considered the first self-conscious network of mail artists. Johnson and Marcia Tucker organized 1970 The New York Correspondence School Exhibition in New York, which was the first significant public exhibition of the mail art genre.
In the 1970s, the practice of mail art grew exponentially, providing a cheap and flexible channel of expression for cultural outsiders and demonstrating a particular vitality where state censorship prevented a free circulation of alternative ideas, as in certain countries behind the Iron Curtain or in South America.
The mail art movement led in the 1980s to the organization of several festivals, meetings and conventions where networkers could meet, socialize, perform, exhibit and plan further collaborations. Among these events were the Inter Dada Festivals organized in California in the early 1980s and the Decentralized Mail Art Congress of 1986.