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Xerox art (sometimes, more generically, called electrostatic art , copy art, or xerography) is created by putting objects on the glass, or image area, of a copying machine and by pressing "start" to produce an image. If the object is not flat, or the cover does not totally cover the object, the image is distorted in some way. The curvature of the object, the amount of light that reaches the image surface, and the distance of the cover from the glass, all affect the final image. Often, with proper manipulation, rather ghostly images can be made. Placing three-dimensional objects on the image area of the screen is often called "direct imaging" and is a method of experimental photography. Xerox art appeared shortly after the first Xerox copying machines were made. There are exhibits now in Los Angeles and New York City museums of more controlled examples of the form. Color copiers added to the form, as can be seen by surrealist Jan Hathaway's combining color xerography with other media, Carol Heifetz Neiman's layering prismacolor pencil through successive runs of a color photocopy process (1988-1990), or R.L. Gibson's use of large scale xerography such as in Psychomachia (2010).
The San Francisco Bay Area had an active Color Xerox arts scene that started in 1978. Many local artists worked in the medium. With post card stores, gallery exhibits, and Barbara Cushman's Color Xerox Calendar, this was a busy time for copy art.
In May 1987, artist and curator George Muhleck wrote in Stuttgart about the international exhibition "Medium: Photocopie" that it inquired into "new artistic ways of handling photocopy." The book which accompanied the exhibition was sponsored mainly by the Goethe Institut of Montreal, with additional support from the Ministere des Affaires Culturelles du Quebec.
Xerox art is often used in mail art and book art. Publishing collaborative mail art in small editions of Xerox art and mailable book art was the purpose of I.S.C.A. (International Society of Copier Artists) founded by Louise Odes Neaderland. A complete collection of International Society of Copier Artist Quarterlies is now housed at the Jaffe Book Arts Collection of the Special Collections of the Wimberly Library at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. This collection began in 1989 with several volumes donated by the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts, now called the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book, in Fort Lauderdale. The Jaffe Collection then supplemented the ISCA collection with missing editions both purchased and donated by Louise Neaderland, the publisher and founder of The International Society of Copier Artists.
- Les artistes et les auteurs. Medium: Photocopie (1987 ed.). ISBN 2-89314-094-7.