Glenn Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson, in the essay Run of the Mill: A Brief History of Contemporary ArtÂ Production forÂ Counter-Production part 3Â (Generali Foundation)Â write about Letters 2004-2006:
Art today still negotiates global networks of power, and it does so through systems ofÂ production even more widely distributed than the one Vallance put into motion. The currentÂ context, of course, is different. As in so many other areas of art-making, artists today haveÂ much greater self-awareness when it comes to involving others in their work. Cultural TiesÂ seems frankly naive in comparison with a recent work by the artist Martin John Callanan,Â entitled Letters 2004â€“2006. The premise was similar. Callanan sent a typed note to variousÂ political and religious leaders, reading only, â€œI respect your authorityâ€ or â€œWhen will it end?â€.Â The responses he got are comparable to those Vallance elicitedâ€”mainly form letters, asÂ well as a few personalized notes (usually either baffled, intrigued, or both). Yet if Vallance Â extended an offer of universal friendship, Callanan instead addressed shadowy realms ofÂ power, expecting and getting no adequate reply. This shift from optimism to resignationÂ captures a general change in tone when it comes to artistic production. In todayâ€™sÂ hypernetworked society, â€œcultural tiesâ€ are all too evident; connection itself has become aÂ primary mechanism of late capital.