david horvitz: “things for sale that i will mail you”.

This is the sort of bizarrely whimsical thing that’s just strange enough for people to say “why not?” and roll with it. It reminds me of Kyle McDonald’s One Red Paper Clip, where he documented online how in 14 consecutive trades he went from owning one red paper clip to owning a house. That’s right… a house.

On Things For Sale That I Will Mail You, artist David Horvitz lists all of the various tasks he will perform and then mail you proof of… if you pay him. The list is so randomly romantic and his descriptions of exactly what he will and will not do for you are so earnest that the whole thing becomes very appealing. Plus, he’s conscientious enough to make sure there’s something to fit everyone’s budget. He’s got a variety of sublimely ridiculous things he’ll do for you for only $1.

For just a buck he will look at the Pacific Ocean for you for one minute. As he so mathematically points out, if you send him $345 he will look at the Pacific Ocean for you for 345 minutes. For $1 he will also “sit in silence and think about you for one minute”. For proof, he’ll email you when he starts and then email you again when he’s done. There’s something about the assumption of trust here that I love – what more proof do you need?

Some of his offers are also a little more legitimately practical. Having been accepted to Bard University for his MFA, Horvitz posted up all of his tuition expenses and promises that all the artwork he creates during the amount of his schooling you pay for will become yours. His explanation is simple and universally understandable to anybody who went to college: “It is expensive. I am poor”. How much do I love this guy? We need to get him on Oprah… this is totally the kind of thing she’ll pay for, and then give the art to South Africa or something.

He gets more exploratory and treasure-hunty as it goes on. For $1,626 he’ll go to a small Okinawan island called Taketomi and send you an enveloped filled with this (admittedly quite pretty) star sand. If that’s a bit rich for your budget, for $20 he’ll send you an envelope filled with sand from Coney Island. Again, in what is either a feat of brilliantly laid-back copywriting or just his own intrinsic whatever-ness, Hurvitz says “It’s not star sand, but it’s still Coney Island”. He’s a little bit genius.

A lot of the offers consist of going to the edges of continents and taking a picture of the sea for you. For $1,335 he’ll go to Tiera del Fuego, for $917 he’ll go to the eastern most point of Newfoundland, and for $3,143 he’ll go to Perth, Australia. The down under trip is clearly his preference, saying “I’m a little sad right now and I would kind of like to escape, so if you are thinking about getting one of these and not sure what you want, please take in consideration my emotions and pick this one.”

Amongst his many other offers are baking cookies and handing them out on the street, buying food for homeless people, reading “The Little Prince” aloud in front of the New York Stock Exchange, and writing down a memory and mailing it to you.

He’s got a concisely compiled list of everything he’s sold. Reading through it is almost disturbingly fascinating…

There is one offer that really appeals to my idealist, emotional side. For $10 he’ll take a picture of the sky, laster print it, and mail it to you. Then he’ll delete it, meaning you will have the one and only picture of that exact patch of sky at that exact moment. This might fit into the whole “get a star named after you” category of atmospheric and celestial ownership that’s actually impossible, but there’s something I just love about the idea of it.

If you find this sky thing as appealing as I do, then Horvitz also has an on-going photo project called I Will Send You A Photograph Of The Sky For Everyday In 2008. There is something so carefree and whimsical and lovely about this that I just appreciate that he thought to put it out there into the universe. His offering is so matter of fact and direct that he comes across as some sort of random-photographic prophet:

“I will mail you the prints intermittently depending on how I feel. I may mail you one at a time as a post-card. I may mail you a whole weeks worth in one envelope. By the beginning of 2009 you will have 366 skies. Each print will be stamped with the date on the back. A list of locations with their correlating dates will be printed at the end of the year. I want you to keep them in a pile so that they become a slowly growing sculpture, which I think would look nice.”

I’m seriously thinking of getting in on this. There’s also a free-email only version, where for no charge Horvitz will email you the sky picture every day, and his site claims this is part of a larger project he’s working on where he’ll take a photograph of the sky every day for the rest of his life.


  1. Another interesting idea. At least the email version won’t need a lot of (real) space to store!
    Most of the ideas are pretty compact.

  2. This is such a great initiative! I’ve always loved skies, and often take pictures of skies myself as well. 🙂

  3. I discovered David’s work through his involvement with the band, Xiu Xiu, and have been flirting with the idea of purchasing some of his stuff for a while now. He’s awesome.

  4. That is truly amazing. I too find that whole idea fantastically, whimsical and extremely romantic on an almost otherworldly type of measure. It’s something that I, myself, would have loved to have thought of. To be someone who could, for just one moment, send someone a peice of the sky that could brighten an otherwise dismal day, or send a thought to someone who feels unthought of or lost in a world of impersonal relationships, that is amazing to me. To me that is a little slice of grace in a world that has so little of it left! Thanks for opening my eyes to this insightful person and idea!

  5. fivehusbands says:


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