Jason Brown Collection

Identifier: MSS.0833

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

The collection of works came first from a call to participate in a Mail Art project “Reinvention.” The curator, Jason Brown, asked for works on a global and local scale with the theme of “Reinvention.” Brown’s project outline stated that his blog would display the received mail art, which the works would eventually go on exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee, and it gave no inhibitions. The technique of art was “free,” meaning, not limited to any media and the size was “free,” expressing no limitations on what could be mailed. Moreover, there would be no jury selection, no mail art returned, and no sales of the objects sent. Brown cataloged the pieces, the project outline, news releases and other documentation of the project, and its exhibition history on his blog: link

The call for mail art was in February 2014 and the 460 pieces from 31 countries were received until mid-August of that year. The scope of the project is quite limited then, between February and August 2014.

The contents are extremely varied due to the “free” project guidelines. The pieces are all considered Mail Art, but otherwise they are made of different material, reused objects, and other miscellaneous forms. The curator organized the documents in the order he received them, grouping them into “pages.” He published the entire series in these pages on his blog. The Vanderbilt Special Collections housing will keep the integrity of the series order, but will sort them by box order rather than “page” groupings. The website’s documentation of the pieces designates what is considered the piece of art with parenthetical descriptions after the artist’s name or other pertinent information. In order to match this online catalog, the artist’s name, any parenthetical citations, and the artist’s location are included in the container list. Any oversize material is denoted in the original order by an “oversize” page. The oversize boxes keep the original order of the pieces within each box, but the boxes themselves are sorted by size rather than content.

The second mail art project “Letter to Me” was donated to Special Collections in August 2015, and the inclusive dates for this second mail art project were January 20, 2015 – July 1, 2015.

This project features the letters of approximately 200 participants from 26 countries, and several languages are represented.

Brown encouraged the participants to use present, past and future tenses for their art letters.


  • 2014 - 2020

Biographical Sketch

Jason Brown was born in England. He currently works as an art collector and a curator of original art exhibitions, including Cab Gallery, Reinvention: A Mail Art Project, and most recently Letter to Me: A Mail Art Project. Beginning in 1999, Brown and London art dealer Paul Stolper worked together to curate Cab Gallery. The two brought in worldwide talent by sending artists the taxi’s dimensions and space—usually available for advertising—which would hold the artists’ inspired works of art. Brown, a cab driver in London during the three-year exhibition period, agreed not to acknowledge the art to riders--who became patrons upon entering the cab--but freely provided information if someone took interest. Brown later moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2012. In February 2014, inspired by his relocation, Brown began his next project, Reinvention: A Mail Art Project. Brown agreed to donate the collection to Vanderbilt Special Collections after the finish of the exhibition. His newest project, Letter to Me: A Mail Art Project, accepted works from January until July 1 of 2015, and those works are arranged in boxes 19 – 22 of this collection.


26 Linear Feet (15 Hollinger boxes; 9 Paige boxes; 4 flat boxes; 1 small box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Provenance Note

Jason Brown, the curator of the exhibition, Reinvention: A Mail Art Project, donated the collection in its entirety to Vanderbilt University Special Collections in the fall of 2014. He donated the second mail art project Letter to Me: A Mail Art Project in its entirety to VU Special Collections in August 2015.

Finding Aid for the Jason Brown Collection
Partially Processed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

Requesting Materials

Each finding aid contains a link to request materials from the collections. Collections can also be requested by emailing the repository directly through the library website. Each repository has its own location, hours, and contact information. Please consult the repository with questions about using the materials. Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the repository’s reading room. In many cases, the collections are stored off-site and require advance notice for retrieval.