Fluxus

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Fluxus—a name taken from a Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word meaning "to flow"—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada
Neo-Dada
Neo-Dada is a label applied primarily to audio and visual art that has similarities in method or intent to earlier Dada artwork. It is the foundation of Fluxus, Pop Art and Nouveau réalisme. Neo-Dada is exemplified by its use of modern materials, popular imagery, and absurdist contrast...

 noise music
Noise music
Noise music is a term used to describe varieties of avant-garde music and sound art that may use elements such as cacophony, dissonance, atonality, noise, indeterminacy, and repetition in their realization. Noise music can feature distortion, various types of acoustically or electronically...

 and visual art as well as literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

, urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

, architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

, and design
Design
Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan...

. Fluxus is sometimes described as intermedia
Intermedia
Intermedia was a concept employed in the mid-sixties by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe the ineffable, often confusing, inter-disciplinary activities that occur between genres that became prevalent in the 1960s. Thus, the areas such as those between drawing and poetry, or between painting...

.

Early Fluxus


The origins of Fluxus lie in many of the concepts explored by composer John Cage
John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...

 in his experimental music
Experimental music
Experimental music refers, in the English-language literature, to a compositional tradition which arose in the mid-20th century, applied particularly in North America to music composed in such a way that its outcome is unforeseeable. Its most famous and influential exponent was John Cage...

 of the 1950s. Cage explored notions of indeterminacy
Indeterminacy in music
Indeterminacy in music, which began early in the twentieth century in the music of Charles Ives, and was continued in the 1930s by Henry Cowell and carried on by his student, the experimental music composer John Cage beginning in 1951 , came to refer to the movement which grew up around Cage...

 in art, through works such as 4' 33", which influenced Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n-born artist George Maciunas
George Maciunas
George Maciunas was a Lithuanian-born American artist. He was a founding member of Fluxus, an international community of artists, architects, composers, and designers...

. Maciunas (1931–1978) organized the first Fluxus event in 1961 at the AG Gallery in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and the first Fluxus festivals in Europe in 1962.

While Fluxus was named and organized by Maciunas, the Fluxus community began in a small but global network of artists and composers who were already at work when Maciunas met them through minimalist composer La Monte Young
La Monte Young
La Monte Thornton Young is an American avant-garde composer, musician, and artist.Young is generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works have been included among the most important and radical post-World War II avant-garde, experimental, and contemporary music. Young is...

 and poet Jackson Mac Low
Jackson Mac Low
Jackson Mac Low was an American poet, performance artist, composer and playwright, known to most readers of poetry as a practioneer of systematic chance operations and other non-intentional compositional methods in his work, which Mac Low first experienced in the musical work of John Cage, Earle...

 in the early 1960s. John Cage's 1957 to 1959 Experimental Composition classes at the New School for Social Research in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 were attended by Mac Low, Al Hansen
Al Hansen
Alfred Earl "Al" Hansen was an American artist considered as one of the most important Fluxus figures. He was a Norwegian American....

, George Brecht
George Brecht
George Brecht , born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American conceptual artist and avant-garde composer as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Mobil Oil...

, and Dick Higgins
Dick Higgins
Dick Higgins was a composer, poet, printer, and early Fluxus artist. Higgins was born in Cambridge, England, but raised in the United States in various parts of New England, including Worcester, Massachusetts, Putney, Vermont, and Concord, New Hampshire.Like other Fluxus artists, Higgins studied...

, many of whom were working in other media with little or no background in music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

. Another cluster of artists was connected to each other
Fluxus at Rutgers University
The mid-20th-century art movement Fluxus had a strong association with Rutgers University.Allan Kaprow and Robert Watts, both key figures in the movement, originally met while they were students at Columbia University; though only together there for one year, soon after they both began teaching at...

 through Rutgers University
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

. Many other artists were invited by Cage to attend his classes unofficially at the New School. Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Duchamp's output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art...

 and Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow was an American painter, assemblagist and a pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art. He helped to develop the "Environment" and "Happening" in the late 1950s and 1960s, as well as their theory. His Happenings - some 200 of them - evolved over the years...

 (who is credited as the creator of the first "happenings") were also influential to Fluxus. In its early days Fluxus artists were active in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 (especially in Germany), and Japan, as well as in the United States.

Young had been asked to guest-edit an issue of a literary journal "Beatitude East" and that effort led to the proto-Fluxus publication called An Anthology of Chance Operations. Maciunas supplied the paper, design, and some money for publishing of the anthology, which contained a more or less arbitrary association of New York avant garde artists at that time. By the end of 1961 before An Anthology of Chance Operations was completed (it was finally published in 1963 by Mac Low and Young), Maciunas had moved to Germany to escape his creditors. From there, he continued his contact with the New York artists and sent out announcements about a series of "yearbooks" of artists works under the title of Fluxus.

Fluxus encouraged a "do-it-yourself" aesthetic, and valued simplicity over complexity. Like Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

 before it, Fluxus included a strong current of anti-commercialism and an anti-art
Anti-art
Anti-art is a loosely-used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point of art...

 sensibility, disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice. As Fluxus artist Robert Filliou
Robert Filliou
Robert Filliou was a French Fluxus artist, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro....

 wrote, however, Fluxus differed from Dada in its richer set of aspirations, and the positive social and communitarian aspirations of Fluxus far outweighed the anti-art tendency that also marked the group.

In terms of an artistic approach, Fluxus artists preferred to work with whatever materials were at hand, and either created their own work or collaborated in the creation process with their colleagues. Outsourcing
Outsourcing
Outsourcing is the process of contracting a business function to someone else.-Overview:The term outsourcing is used inconsistently but usually involves the contracting out of a business function - commonly one previously performed in-house - to an external provider...

 part of the creative process to commercial fabricators was not usually part of Fluxus practice. Maciunas personally hand-assembled many of the Fluxus multiples and editions. While Maciunas assembled many objects by hand, he designed and intended them for mass production. Where many multiple publishers produced signed, numbered objects in limited editions intended for sale at high prices, Maciunas produced open editions at low prices. Several other Fluxus publishers produced different kinds of Fluxus editions. The best known of these was Something Else Press
Something Else Press
Something Else Press was founded by Dick Higgins in 1963. It published many important Intermedia texts and artworks by Higgins, Ray Johnson, Gertrude Stein, George Brecht, Daniel Spoerri, Bern Porter, John Cage, Emmett Williams and others. The Something Else Press was an early publisher of...

, established by Dick Higgins, probably the largest and most extensive Fluxus publisher, producing books in editions that ran from 1,500 copies to as many as 5,000 copies, all available at standard bookstore prices. Higgins created the term "intermedia" in a 1966 essay.

Fluxus art



The art forms most closely associated with Fluxus are event scores and Fluxus boxes. Fluxus boxes (sometimes called Fluxkits or Fluxboxes) originated with George Maciunas who would gather collections of printed cards, games, and ideas, organizing them in small plastic or wooden boxes.

The idea of the event began in Henry Cowell
Henry Cowell
Henry Cowell was an American composer, music theorist, pianist, teacher, publisher, and impresario. His contribution to the world of music was summed up by Virgil Thomson, writing in the early 1950s:...

's philosophy of music. Cowell, a teacher to John Cage and later to Dick Higgins, coined the term that Higgins and others later applied to short, terse descriptions of performable work. The term "score" is used in exactly the sense that one uses the term to describe a music score: a series of notes that allow anyone to perform the work, an idea linked both to what Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik
Nam June Paik was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the first video artist....

 labeled the "do it yourself" approach and to what Ken Friedman
Ken Friedman
Ken Friedman, is a seminal figure in Fluxus, an international laboratory for experimental art, architecture, design, literature, and music. He had his first solo exhibition in New York in 1966. He has also been involved with mail art, and he has written extensively about Fluxus and Intermedia...

 termed "musicality." While much is made of the do it yourself approach to art, it is vital to recognize that this idea emerges in music, and such important Fluxus artists as Paik, Higgins, or Corner began as composers, bringing to art the idea that each person can create the work by "doing it." This is what Friedman meant by musicality, extending the idea more radically to conclude that anyone can create work of any kind from a score, acknowledging the composer as the originator of the work while realizing the work freely and even interpreting it in far different ways from those the original composer might have done.

Event scores, such as George Brecht
George Brecht
George Brecht , born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American conceptual artist and avant-garde composer as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Mobil Oil...

's "Drip Music", are essentially performance art
Performance art
In art, performance art is a performance presented to an audience, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or...

 scripts that are usually only a few lines long and consist of descriptions of actions to be performed rather than dialogue. Fluxus artists differentiate event scores from "happening
Happening
A happening is a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art, usually as performance art. Happenings take place anywhere , are often multi-disciplinary, with a nonlinear narrative and the active participation of the audience...

s". Whereas happenings were sometimes complicated, lengthy performances meant to blur the lines between performer and audience, performance and reality, Fluxus performances were usually brief and simple. The Event performances sought to elevate the banal, to be mindful of the mundane, and to frustrate the high culture
High culture
High culture is a term, now used in a number of different ways in academic discourse, whose most common meaning is the set of cultural products, mainly in the arts, held in the highest esteem by a culture...

 of academic and market-driven music and art. Other creative forms that have been adopted by Fluxus practitioners include collage
Collage
A collage is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole....

, sound art
Sound art
Sound art is a diverse group of art practices that considers wide notions of sound, listening and hearing as its predominant focus. There are often distinct relationships forged between the visual and aural domains of art and perception by sound artists....

, music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

, video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

, and poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

—especially visual poetry
Visual poetry
Visual poetry is poetry or art in which the visual arrangement of text, images and symbols is important in conveying the intended effect of the work. It is sometimes referred to as concrete poetry, a term that predates visual poetry, and at one time was synonymous with it.Visual poetry was heavily...

 and concrete poetry
Concrete poetry
Concrete poetry or shape poetry is poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning of words, rhythm, rhyme and so on....

.

Among its early associates were Joseph Beuys
Joseph Beuys
Joseph Beuys was a German performance artist, sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his "extended definition of art" and the idea of social...

, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell
Wolf Vostell
Wolf Vostell was a German painter, sculptor, noise music maker and Happening artist of the second half of the 20th century. Wolf Vostell is considered one of the pioneers of video art, environment-sculptures, Happenings and the Fluxus Movement...

, La Monte Young, Joseph Byrd
Joseph Byrd
Joseph Byrd was the leader of The United States of America, a notable rock band from the 1960s, as well as the psychedelic group Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, of cult fame through their release The American Metaphysical Circus...

, and Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

 who explored media ranging from performance art to poetry to experimental music to film. They took the stance of opposition to the ideas of tradition and professionalism in the arts of their time, the Fluxus group shifted the emphasis from what an artist makes to the artist's personality, actions, and opinions. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s (their most active period) they staged "action" events, engaged in politics and public speaking, and produced sculptural works featuring unconventional materials. Their radically untraditional works included, for example, the video art
Video art
Video art is a type of art which relies on moving pictures and comprises video and/or audio data. . Video art came into existence during the 1960s and 1970s, is still widely practiced and has given rise to the widespread use of video installations...

 of Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman
Charlotte Moorman
Madeline Charlotte Moorman Garside was an American cellist and performance artist.She was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. She studied cello from age ten and won a scholarship to Centenary College where she took her B.A. in music in 1955. She received her M.A...

 and the performance art of Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell. The often playful style of Fluxus artists led to their being considered by some little more than a group of pranksters in their early years. Fluxus has also been compared to Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

 and aspects of Pop Art
Pop art
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

 and is seen as the starting point of mail art
Mail art
Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art through the international postal system. Mail Art is also known as Postal Art or Correspondence Art...

 and no wave
No Wave
No Wave was a short-lived but influential underground music, film, performance art, video, and contemporary art scene that had its beginnings during the mid-1970s in New York City. The term No Wave is in part satirical word play rejecting the commercial elements of the then-popular New Wave genre...

 artists. Artists from succeeding generations such as Mark Bloch
Mark Bloch
Mark Bloch , also known as Pan, P.A.N., Panman, Panpost and the Post Art Network, is an American multi-media artist from Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Since 1982 he has lived in New York City...

 do not try to characterize themselves as Fluxus but create spinoffs such as Fluxpan or Jung Fluxus as a way of continuing some of the Fluxus ideas in a 21st century, post-mail art
Mail art
Mail art is a worldwide cultural movement that began in the early 1960s and involves sending visual art through the international postal system. Mail Art is also known as Postal Art or Correspondence Art...

 context.

Fluxus since 1978


After the death of George Maciunas in 1978 a rift opened in the movement between a few collectors and curators who placed Fluxus in a specific time frame (1962 to 1978), and the artists themselves, most of whom continued to see Fluxus as a living entity held together by its core values and world view. Different theorists and historians adopted each of these views. Fluxus is therefore referred to variously in the past or the present tense. The question is now significantly more complex due to the fact that many of the original artists who were still living when the controversy arose are now dead.

Some have argued that the unique control that curator Jon Hendricks holds over a major historical Fluxus collection (the Gilbert and Lila Silverman collection) has enabled him to influence, through the numerous books and catalogues subsidized by the collection, the view that Fluxus died with Maciunas. Hendricks argues that Fluxus was a historical movement that occurred at a particular time, asserting that such central Fluxus artists as Dick Higgins and Nam June Paik could no longer label themselves as active Fluxus artists after 1978, and that contemporary artists influenced by Fluxus cannot lay claim to be Fluxus artists. The Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 makes the same claim dating the movement to the 1960s and 1970s. However, the influence of Fluxus continues today in multi-media digital art
Digital art
Digital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process...

 performances.

Others assert that although Maciunas was a key participant, there were many more, including Fluxus co-founder Higgins, who continued to work within Fluxus after the death of Maciunas. There are a number of post-1978 artists who remain associated with Fluxus. Some were contemporaries of Maciunas who became active in Fluxus after 1978. While there is not a large Fluxus artist community in any single urban center, the rise of the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 in the 1990s has enabled a vibrant Fluxus community to thrive online. Some of the original artists from the 1960s and 1970s remain active in online communities such as the Fluxlist, and other artist
Artist
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only...

s, writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

s, musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

s, and performers have joined them in cyberspace
Cyberspace
Cyberspace is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communication takes place.The term "cyberspace" was first used by the cyberpunk science fiction author William Gibson, though the concept was described somewhat earlier, for example in the Vernor Vinge short story "True...

. Fluxus-oriented artists continue to meet in cities around the world to collaborate and communicate in "real-time" and physical spaces.

Artistic philosophies


Fluxus is similar in spirit to the earlier art movement of Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

, emphasizing the concept of anti-art
Anti-art
Anti-art is a loosely-used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point of art...

 and taking jabs at the seriousness of modern art. Fluxus artists used their minimal performances to highlight their perceived connections between everyday objects and art, similarly to Duchamp in pieces such as Fountain
Fountain (Duchamp)
Fountain is a 1917 work by Marcel Duchamp. It is one of the pieces which he called readymades. In such pieces he made use of an already existing object. In this case Duchamp used a urinal, which he titled Fountain and signed "R. Mutt". Readymades also go by the term Found object...

. Fluxus art was often presented in "events", which Fluxus member George Brecht
George Brecht
George Brecht , born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American conceptual artist and avant-garde composer as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Mobil Oil...

 defined as "the smallest unit of a situation". The events consisted of a minimal instruction, opening the events to accidents and other unintended effects. Also contributing to the randomness of events was the integration of audience members into the performances, realizing Duchamp's notion of the viewer completing the art work.

The Fluxus artistic philosophy can be expressed as a synthesis of four key factors that define the majority of Fluxus work:
  1. Fluxus is an attitude. It is not a movement or a style.
  2. Fluxus is intermedia. Fluxus creators like to see what happens when different media intersect. They use found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts.
  3. Fluxus works are simple. The art is small, the texts are short, and the performances are brief.
  4. Fluxus is fun. Humour has always been an important element in Fluxus.

Fluxus artists


Fluxus artists shared several characteristics including wit
Wit
Wit is a form of intellectual humour, and a wit is someone skilled in making witty remarks. Forms of wit include the quip and repartee.-Forms of wit:...

 and "childlikeness", though they lacked a consistent identity as an artistic community. This vague self-identification allowed the group to include a variety of artists, including a large number of women. The possibility that Fluxus had more female members than any Western art group up to that point in history is particularly significant because Fluxus came on the heels of the white male-dominated abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism
Abstract expressionism was an American post–World War II art movement. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve worldwide influence and put New York City at the center of the western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris...

 movement. However, despite the designed open-endedness of Fluxus, Maciunas insisted on maintaining unity in the collective. Because of this, Maciunas was accused of expelling certain members for deviating from what he perceived as the goals of Fluxus.

Many artists, writers, and composers have been associated with Fluxus over the years, including:

  • Eric Andersen
    Eric Andersen (artist)
    Eric Andersen Born in Antwerp 1940 is an artist associated with the Fluxus art movement. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.-Life and work:In 1962 Andersen first took part in one of the early concerts given by Fluxus held during the Festum Fluxorum in the Nikolai Kirke in Copenhagen. He soon took an...

  • John Armleder
    John Armleder
    John Armleder as the son of a hotelier , is a Swiss performance artist, painter, sculptor, critic, and curator. His work is based on his involvement with Fluxus in the 1960s and 1970s, when he created performance art pieces, installations and collective art activities that were strongly influenced...

  • Ay-O
    Ay-O
    is a Japanese artist, who has been associated with Fluxus since its international beginnings in the 1960s.-From Democrato to Fluxus:Probably, the best reference to understand the early years of Ay-O is the autobiographical retrospective book in the references "Ay-O, Over the Rainbow, Ay-O...

  • Michael Basinski
    Michael Basinski
    Michael Basinski is an American text, visual and sound poet. He is the curator of The Poetry/Rare Books Collection of the University Libraries, State University of New York at Buffalo. He performs as a solo poet and with the performance/sound ensemble, Bufffluxus.-References:...

  • Joseph Beuys
    Joseph Beuys
    Joseph Beuys was a German performance artist, sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his "extended definition of art" and the idea of social...

  • Peter Brötzmann
    Peter Brötzmann
    Peter Brötzmann is a German artist and free jazz saxophonist and clarinetist.Brötzmann is among the most important European free jazz musicians. His rough, lyrical timbre is easily recognized on his many recordings.-Early life:...

  • Allen Bukoff
    Allen Bukoff
    Allen Bukoff is an artist and social psychologist in Birmingham, Michigan. He received his Ph.D. from Kent State in 1984. Bukoff has belonged to the Fluxus art movement since the 1980s...

  • Joseph Byrd
    Joseph Byrd
    Joseph Byrd was the leader of The United States of America, a notable rock band from the 1960s, as well as the psychedelic group Joe Byrd and the Field Hippies, of cult fame through their release The American Metaphysical Circus...

  • John Cale
    John Cale
    John Davies Cale, OBE is a Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriter and record producer who was a founding member of the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground....

  • Henning Christiansen
    Henning Christiansen
    Henning Christiansen was a Danish composer and an active member of the Fluxus-movement. He worked with artists such as Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik, as well as with his wife Ursula Reuter Christiansen...

  • Philip Corner
    Philip Corner
    Philip Corner is an American composer, action musician, trombone/alphornist, sometime vocalist, pianist-improvisor, theorist-educator, graphic score designer, and visual artist, collage&assembleur, calligrapher.-Biography:After The High School of Music & Art in New York City, Philip Corner...

  • Jean Dupuy
  • Henry Flynt
    Henry Flynt
    Henry Flynt is a philosopher, avant-garde musician, anti-art activist and exhibited artist often associated with Conceptual Art, Fluxus and Nihilism.-Background:...


  • Julien Friedler
    Julien Friedler
    Julien Friedler, born in 1950 in Bruxelles, a writer and contemporary artist, is the leading figure in the visual art movement known as be art....

  • Ken Friedman
    Ken Friedman
    Ken Friedman, is a seminal figure in Fluxus, an international laboratory for experimental art, architecture, design, literature, and music. He had his first solo exhibition in New York in 1966. He has also been involved with mail art, and he has written extensively about Fluxus and Intermedia...

  • Geoffrey Hendricks
    Geoffrey Hendricks
    Geoffrey Hendricks is an American artist associated with Fluxus since the mid 1960s, and has styled himself as "cloudsmith" for his extensive work with sky imagery in paintings, on objects, in installations and performances. Hendricks was born in Littleton, New Hampshire in 1931...

  • Ruud Janssen
    Ruud Janssen
    Ruud Janssen is a Dutch Fluxus and mail artist currently living in Breda in the Netherlands.Ruud Janssen studied Physics and Mathematics. He became active with mail art in 1980 and did several international mail art projects...

  • Ray Johnson
    Ray Johnson
    Raymond Edward Johnson , known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art...

  • Joe Jones
    Joe Jones (Fluxus artist)
    -Formation:Joe Jones grew up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and received a classical musical education at Hartnett Music School in New York City. In the late 1950s he began a short career as a jazz drummer. In 1960 Jones began to study avant-garde experimental composition first briefly with John Cage and...

  • Franz Kamin
    Franz Kamin
    Franz Kamin was a prolific American author, composer, and pianist whose works were modelled on topology, general systems theory, meditational processes, and chance operations....

  • Bengt af Klintberg
    Bengt af Klintberg
    Bengt Knut Erik af Klintberg is a Swedish ethnologist who has become known for his work on modern urban legends and reached a large audience with his books Råttan i pizzan and Den stulna njuren .Klintberg was also co-host Bengt Knut Erik af Klintberg (b. 25 December 1938 in Stockholm) is a...

  • Milan Knížák
    Milan Knížák
    Milan Knížák is a Czech performance artist, sculptor, musician, installation artist, dissident, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue of art.-Childhood and early life in the Protectorate and in the former Sudetenland :...

  • Alison Knowles
    Alison Knowles
    Alison Knowles in New York City is an American visual artist known for her soundworks, installations, performances, and publications. Knowles was very active in the Fluxus movement, and continues to create work inspired by her Fluxus experience....

  • Takehisa Kosugi
    Takehisa Kosugi
    is a Japanese composer and violinist associated with the Fluxus movement.Kosugi studied musicology at the Tokyo University of the Arts and graduated in 1962....

  • Philip Krumm
    Philip Krumm
    Philip Krumm is an American composer who was "a pioneer of modal, repetitive pattern music". Krumm studied orchestration and composition with Raymond Moses in high school, with Frank Sturchio at Saint Mary's University, with Ross Lee Finney at University of Michigan, and with Karlheinz Stockhausen...

  • Shigeko Kubota
    Shigeko Kubota
    is a visual and performance artist born in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in 1937. She studied sculpture at the Tokyo University of Education, and completed her studies at New York University and at the New School for Social Research in the early 1960s. She became vice chairman of the Fluxus...


  • George Landow
  • Vytautas Landsbergis
    Vytautas Landsbergis
    Professor Vytautas Landsbergis is a Lithuanian conservative politician and Member of the European Parliament. He was the first head of state of Lithuania after its independence declaration from the Soviet Union, and served as the Head of the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas...

  • Richard Maxfield
    Richard Maxfield
    Richard Maxfield was a composer of instrumental, electro-acoustic, and electronic music.Born in Seattle, he most likely taught the first University-level course in electronic music in America at the New School for Social Research...

  • Jonas Mekas
    Jonas Mekas
    Jonas Mekas is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.-Biography:...

  • Gustav Metzger
    Gustav Metzger
    Gustav Metzger is an artist and political activist who developed the concept of Auto-Destructive Art and the Art Strike. Together with John Sharkey, he initiated the Destruction in Art Symposium in 1966...

  • Charlotte Moorman
    Charlotte Moorman
    Madeline Charlotte Moorman Garside was an American cellist and performance artist.She was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. She studied cello from age ten and won a scholarship to Centenary College where she took her B.A. in music in 1955. She received her M.A...

  • Yoko Ono
    Yoko Ono
    is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

  • Robin Page
    Robin Page
    Robin Page is a painter. He was one of the early members of the Fluxus art movement.-Biography:Page was born in England in 1932. His father, Peter Carter-Page, was a humorist and cartoonist who worked as an animator at the Disney studios in Hollywood in the 1930’s. The family moved to Canada...

  • Nam June Paik
    Nam June Paik
    Nam June Paik was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the first video artist....

  • Ben Patterson
    Ben Patterson
    Ben Patterson is an American musician, an artist and one of the founders of the Fluxus movement.-Biography:Born in Pittsburgh May 29, 1934. From 1956 to 1960, he worked as a double bassist at the Halifax Symphony Orchestra , the US Army 7th Army Symphony Orchestra and the Ottawa Philharmonic...

  • Terry Riley
    Terry Riley
    Terrence Mitchell Riley, is an American composer intrinsically associated with the minimalist school of Western classical music and was a pioneer of the movement...

  • Dieter Roth
    Dieter Roth
    Dieter Roth was an Icelandic artist of Swiss German origin best known for his artist's books and for his sculptures and pictures made with rotting food stuffs. He was also known as Dieter Rot and Diter Rot....

  • Takako Saito
    Takako Saito
    Takako Saito is a Japanese artist, born in Sabae-Shi, Fukui Province in Japan in 1929. Closely associated with Fluxus, the international collective of avant-garde artists that was active primarily in the 1960s and 1970s, she currently lives in Düsseldorf in Germany...


  • Carolee Schneemann
    Carolee Schneemann
    Carolee Schneemann is an American visual artist, known for her discourses on the body, sexuality and gender. She received a B.A. from Bard College and an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois. Her work is primarily characterized by research into visual traditions, taboos, and the body of the...

  • Mieko Shiomi
    Mieko Shiomi (composer)
    -Biography:Mieko Shiomi was born in Okayama, Japan. She began music lessons as a child and studied music at the State University of the Arts in Tokyo in 1957. In 1960 she founded the group Ongaku with Takehisa Kosugi to explore improvisation and action. The group hosted performances by artists...

  • Litsa Spathi
    Litsa Spathi
    Litsa Spathi is a Greek painter, performer and Fluxus artist, currently living in Heidelberg, Germany and Breda, Netherlands. She makes collages, objectbooks, fluxus poetry and large acrylic paintings. She used to be active in mail art as well. Her paintings belong to the category fantastic realism...

  • Daniel Spoerri
    Daniel Spoerri
    Daniel Spoerri is a Swiss artist and writer born in Romania, who has been called "the central figure of European post-war art" and "one of the most renown[ed] [artists] of the 20th century." Spoerri is best known for his "snare-pictures," a type of assemblage or object art, in which he captures...

  • James Tenney
    James Tenney
    James Tenney was an American composer and influential music theorist.-Biography:Tenney was born in Silver City, New Mexico, and grew up in Arizona and Colorado. He attended the University of Denver, the Juilliard School of Music, Bennington College and the University of Illinois...

  • Yasunao Tone
    Yasunao Tone
    Yasunao Tone is a Japanese artist who has worked with many different types of media throughout his career. He was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1935, and he graduated from Chiba Japanese National University in 1957, majoring in Japanese literature. He became active in the Fluxus movement in the 1960s and...

  • Cecil Touchon
    Cecil Touchon
    right|thumb|ABOVE: "Fusion Series #2174" By Cecil Touchon. A collage using fragments of lettering from found bill board material. Image use courtesy of the artist...

  • Ben Vautier
    Ben Vautier
    Ben Vautier , also known simply as Ben, is a French artist.Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973...

  • Wolf Vostell
    Wolf Vostell
    Wolf Vostell was a German painter, sculptor, noise music maker and Happening artist of the second half of the 20th century. Wolf Vostell is considered one of the pioneers of video art, environment-sculptures, Happenings and the Fluxus Movement...

  • Yoshi Wada
    Yoshi Wada
    Yoshimasa "Yoshi" Wada , is a Japanese sound installation artist and musician living in the United States. He lived in New York for many years but now lives in San Francisco, California....

  • Robert Watts
    Robert Watts (artist)
    Robert Watts was an American artist best known for his work as a member of the international Avant-garde art movement Fluxus. Born in Burlington, Iowa June 14, 1923, he became Professor of Art at Douglass College, Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1953, a post he kept until 1984...

  • Emmett Williams
    Emmett Williams
    Emmett Williams was an American poet and visual artist.Williams was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and grew up in Virginia, and lived in Europe from 1949 to 1966...



Scholars, critics, and curators associated with Fluxus


  • Mark Bloch
    Mark Bloch
    Mark Bloch , also known as Pan, P.A.N., Panman, Panpost and the Post Art Network, is an American multi-media artist from Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Since 1982 he has lived in New York City...

  • Anne Carson
    Anne Carson
    Anne Carson is a Canadian poet, essayist, translator and professor of Classics. Carson lived in Montreal for several years and taught at McGill University, the University of Michigan, and at Princeton University from 1980-1987....

  • Peter Frank
  • Ken Friedman
    Ken Friedman
    Ken Friedman, is a seminal figure in Fluxus, an international laboratory for experimental art, architecture, design, literature, and music. He had his first solo exhibition in New York in 1966. He has also been involved with mail art, and he has written extensively about Fluxus and Intermedia...

  • Hannah Higgins
    Hannah Higgins
    Hannah Higgins is an American writer and academic living in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of the Fluxus artists, Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles.-Biography:...

  • Judith Hoffberg
    Judith Hoffberg
    Judith Hoffberg was a librarian, archivist, lecturer, a curator and art writer, and editor and publisher of Umbrella, a newsletter on artists' books, mail art, and Fluxus art. She received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1956. She went on to get an M.A. in Italian Language and Literature...

  • Jill Johnston
    Jill Johnston
    Jill Johnston was an American feminist author and cultural critic who wrote Lesbian Nation in 1973 and was a longtime writer for The Village Voice. She was also a leader of the lesbian separatist movement of the 1970s. Johnston also wrote under the pen name F. J...


  • Jonas Mekas
    Jonas Mekas
    Jonas Mekas is a Lithuanian-born American filmmaker, writer, and curator who has often been called "the godfather of American avant-garde cinema." His work has been exhibited in museums and festivals across Europe and America.-Biography:...

  • Larry Miller
    Larry Miller
    Larry Miller is the name of:*Larry H. Miller , American businessman, owner of the Utah Jazz 1985–2009*Larry Miller , American comedian, actor and columnist...

  • Ben Vautier
    Ben Vautier
    Ben Vautier , also known simply as Ben, is a French artist.Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973...

  • Kristine Stiles
    Kristine Stiles
    Kristine Stilesis an art historian specializing in global contemporary art. She has written extensively on performance art as well as on the themes of destruction, violence, and trauma in art. Stiles earned a B.A. in Art History from San Jose State University in California, and an M.A. and Ph.D...

  • Knud Pedersen
    Knud Pedersen
    Knud Pedersen was born in 1925, in the small Danish town of Grenå. His career as a public figure started in 1942, when he, together with nine other young Danes, founded the resistance group Churchill Klubben...



Major collections and archives

  • Alternative Traditions in Contemporary Art, University Library and University Art Museum, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
  • Archiv Sohm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
  • Archivio Conz, Verona, Italy
  • Artpool, Budapest, Hungary
  • Emily Harvey Foundation, New York, New York, and Venice, Italy
  • David Mayor/Fluxshoe/Beau Geste Press papers, Tate Gallery Archive, Tate Britain, London, England
  • Fluxus Collection, Ken Friedman papers, Tate Gallery Archive, Tate Britain, London, England
  • Fluxus Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Franklin Furnace Archive, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
  • George Maciunas Memorial Collection, The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
  • Gilbert and Lila Silverman, Fluxus Foundation, Detroit, Michigan, and New York, New York, USA
  • Museo Vostell Malpartida, Cáceres, Spain.
  • Jean Brown papers, Getty Research Institute
    Getty Research Institute
    The Getty Research Institute , located at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California, is "dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts". A program of the J...

    , Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Sammlung Maria und Walter Schnepel, Bremen, Germany
  • TVF The Endless Story of FLUXUS, Gent, Belgium
  • Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center
    Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center
    The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center is an avant-garde arts centre in Vilnius, Lithuania.In opened on November 10, 2007 by the acclaimed Lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas. The premiere exhibition featured The Avant-Garde: From Futurism to Fluxus . Part of recently purchased Fluxus art collection,...

    , Vilnius
    Vilnius
    Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

    , Lithuania
    Lithuania
    Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

  • The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Gift from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection, Detroit, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Selected bibliography

  • Baas, Jacquelynn, et al. Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life. Chicago and Hanover, NH: University of Chicago Press and Hood Museum of Art, 2011.
  • Bernstein, Roslyn and Shael Shapiro. Illegal Living: 80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo (Jonas Mekas Foundation), www.illegalliving.com ISBN 978-609-95172-0-9, September 2010.
  • Block, René, ed. 1962 Wiesbaden Fluxus 1982. Wiesbaden: Harlekin Art, Museum Wiesbaden, and Nassauischer Kunstverein, 1982.
  • Fluxus und Freunde: Sammlung Maria und Walter Schnepel, Katalog zur Ausstellung Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen; Fondazione Morra, Napoli; Kunst Museum Bonn 2002.
  • Friedman, Ken, ed. The Fluxus Reader. Chicester, West Sussex and New York: Academy Editions, 1998.
  • Gray, John. Action Art. A Bibliography of Artists’ Performance from Futurism to Fluxus and Beyond. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993.
  • Haskell, Barbara. BLAM! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958-1964. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1984.
  • Hansen, Al, and Hansen, Beck. Playing with Matches. RAM USA, 1998
  • Hapgood, Susan, and Lauf, Cornelia. FluxAttitudes. Ghent: Imschoot Uitgevers, 1991
  • Held, John Jr. Mail Art: an Annotated Bibliography. Metuchen, New Jersey and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1991.
  • Hendricks, Geoffrey, ed. Critical Mass, Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University 1958–1972. Mason Gross Art Galleries, Rutgers, and Mead Art Gallery, Amherst, 2003.
  • Hendricks, Jon, ed. Fluxus, etc.: The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Cranbrook Museum of Art, 1982.
  • Hendricks, Jon. Fluxus Codex. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 1989.
  • Higgins, Hannah. Fluxus Experience. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
  • Kellein, Thomas. Fluxus. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1995.
  • Milman, Estera, ed. Fluxus: A Conceptual Country, Visible Language [Special Issue], Vol. 26, Nos. 1/2, Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 1992.
  • Moren, Lisa. Intermedia. Baltimore, Maryland: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2003.
  • Paull, Silke, and Hervé Würz, eds. "How We Met or a Microdemystification". AQ 16 [Special Issue], (1977)
  • Phillpot, Clive, and Jon Hendricks, eds. Fluxus: Selections from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1988.
  • Saper, Craig J. Networked Art. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
  • Schmidt-Burkhardt, Astrit. Maciunas’ Learning Machine from Art History to a Chronology of Fluxus. Detroit, Michigan: Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, 2005.
  • Smith, Owen. Fluxus: The History of an Attitude. San Diego State University Press, San Diego, California, 1998.
  • Williams, Emmett, and Ann Noel, eds. Mr. Fluxus: A Collective Portrait of George Maciunas. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

See also

  • Anti-art
    Anti-art
    Anti-art is a loosely-used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point of art...

  • Intermedia
    Intermedia
    Intermedia was a concept employed in the mid-sixties by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe the ineffable, often confusing, inter-disciplinary activities that occur between genres that became prevalent in the 1960s. Thus, the areas such as those between drawing and poetry, or between painting...

  • Gutai group
    Gutai group
    The Gutai group was an artistic movement and association of artists founded by Jiro Yoshihara in Japan in 1954...

  • Art intervention
    Art intervention
    Art intervention is an interaction with a previously existing artwork, audience or venue/space. It has the auspice of conceptual art and is commonly a form of performance art. It is associated with the Viennese Actionists, the Dada movement and Neo-Dadaists...

  • Happening
    Happening
    A happening is a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art, usually as performance art. Happenings take place anywhere , are often multi-disciplinary, with a nonlinear narrative and the active participation of the audience...

  • Pop art
    Pop art
    Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

  • Neo-Dada
    Neo-Dada
    Neo-Dada is a label applied primarily to audio and visual art that has similarities in method or intent to earlier Dada artwork. It is the foundation of Fluxus, Pop Art and Nouveau réalisme. Neo-Dada is exemplified by its use of modern materials, popular imagery, and absurdist contrast...

  • Performance art
    Performance art
    In art, performance art is a performance presented to an audience, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or...

  • Noise music
    Noise music
    Noise music is a term used to describe varieties of avant-garde music and sound art that may use elements such as cacophony, dissonance, atonality, noise, indeterminacy, and repetition in their realization. Noise music can feature distortion, various types of acoustically or electronically...


External links