Skip to content

About Allan Revich

Allan Revich is a Toronto artist and writer. His work has appeared in numerous publications, in international exhibitions, and on many websites. He is active in the international Fluxus community. He currently writes poetry, creates visual poems, and works with photography. His work includes Web-based art, mixed media art, and mail art. His books, Headline Haiku 2006, Headline Haiku 2007, and Fluxus Vision are available internationally on Amazon.com and its affiliates, as his most recent collection of poems, "Flux You!".

Fluxfest at Pierogi's The Boiler
(on Sept. 11, with not a mention of 9/11)

...had the genuine Fluxus offhandedness and the historically correct disregard for ceremony or performance-niceties such as a printed program. The latter would have allowed the patient audience -- outnumbered by the performers, as is also traditionally Fluxian -- to ascertain authorship, date of creation, and performer. Thus, 13 or so friendly Fluxians from here and abroad, most of whom had not met before, presented an hour-and-a-half of Fluxus pieces, old and new.

For the record, they were listed in WAGMAG, the Brooklyn Art Guide (which I had picked up at 111 High Street) in anti-alphabetical order: Allan Revich, Reid Wood, Mark Bloch, Christine Tarantino, Carol Starr, Reed Altemus, Tamara Wyndham, Don E. Boyd, Melissa McCarthy, Keith A. Buchholz, Bibiana Padilla Maltos, Bradstifter, Mary Campbell, Pronoblem and more!!

Balloons were inflated, water poured from one plastic cup into another in a circle of plastic cups, jellybeans dispersed, toy instruments given out -- as were miniature versions of U.S. tender. Various classic Dada texts were read, including a poem by Louis Aragon called Suicide, which consisted of reciting the alphabet. (It is one of my all-time favorites.) But in another rather anti-Fluxian demonstration, a woman asked if anyone could love her as much as she loved herself. Obviously not. So shopping bag in hand, she stormed out, never to return.

The best was saved for last. The interlocutor, one of five participants wearing black hats, tacked a piece of paper on the wall behind him, then left. Other Fluxians got up, read what was on the piece of paper, and also left. Then members of the audience, myself included, did likewise. I copied what was on the piece of paper: "Word Event/Exit/ George Brecht, 1961."

 Critic John Perreault in Artopia 9/20/09

Copy Art has been closely associated with Fluxus over the years. While it is not inherently or definitively Fluxus (what is, really?), Copy Art is certainly consistent with the Fluxus ethos, and has been created by many artists who have been associated with Fluxus. One of those artists is my friend Reed Altemus, who wrote this short piece in 2003:

What Is Copy Art?
by Reed Altemus, 2003

Of all the myriad individual ways of describing and defining photocopier art, there are two, in particular, which seem to me the most useful. The first is very broad: photocopier art consists of any instance in which an artist, cultural worker or any individual uses a photocopier as an important step, whatever that may be, in the process of producing creative work. Its set includes very definitelycopy-arts-and-crafts, flypostering, micropress, mail art, and zines. The second useful definition is more mediumistic and specific and says that copy art consists of an artistic and paradoxical reversal of the purpose of the technology, using a copying device to produce an original one-of-a-kind photocopy through an interference with or intervention in the usual functions and operation of the copy machine. The premise of this second take is that copy art is defined as work where the artist purposely uses a copying device to produce something which is not a copy and can therefore only be called an original by using certain more or less well-known techniques to divert the photocopier from its normal function. From this arose the epithet “original copy”. For copy artists, copy art is never a copy of art, but rather the goal is to produce an original work achieved through a process of exploration and experimental intervention. One might call the difference between the two areas as photocopy as a means to an end and photocopy as an end in itself – the ostensible difference being between using the technology as a machine i.e. duplication and using it as a tool i.e. creation. There are also certainly plenty of overlaps between the two, for instance, the production of editions and artists’ book to mention just two. The first catagory is probably more useful in describing the medium in general terms as it is most known, taking into view all the functions photocopiers play in cultural activities, and probably accounts for 99% of the cultural use of photocopier technology while the second is more an experimental and limited domain of specifically copy art praxis limited to the technical aspects of the medium and based on an artistically adopted paradox. The latter amounts to a very small segment of artists who consider use of the photocopier as an art medium in itself.

You can learn more about Copy Art on Reed's TONERWORKS blog, and more about Reed Altemus here.

Reed has also posted a comprehensive Copy Art Bibliography to http://leonardo.info/isast/spec.projects/electrobib.html

As an artist, I like to play with, test, and explore the limits and boundaries around reason. Intermedia is concerned with the spaces in which media intersect, which is one of the reasons that I am so attracted to Fluxus. For example visual poetry is poetry for the eye; falling into the space where visual art and literature intersect. Sound art is art for the ear, falling into the space where audio (music/sound) and visual art intersect. Reason tells us that visual art is not something that is meant to be appreciated with the ears, and that audio cannot be appreciated as visual art.

But when audio is approached from a sculptural perspective, it stands to reason that sound consists of air molecules in  motion --- it occupies space physically just as a sculpture does. Visual poetry also follows a reasoned path to a logical ending... Poetry starts as language expressed with rhythm, rhyme, and meter - is transcribed into text, and is then read silently or aloud to be expressed again. Rather than permit the text to remain on the page solely as a semiotic marker for language, visual poets use it as raw material for visual expressions. The result cannot reasonably called either visual art or poetry, but is clearly some hybrid, intermedia iteration of BOTH text and visual art.

Call for Works

INTERNATIONAL FLUXHIBITION #4
Deadline: April 30, 2010

Fluxus Amusements, Diversions, Games, Tricks and Puzzles

The Fluxmuseum will be organizing an exhibition for exhibit during 2010. This exhibition will focus on fun and games. Works including art, objects, boxes, instructions, performances, scores, ect. are sought that deal with any issue related to fun and games, tricks and puzzles, amusements and diversions.

Subjects might include: any sort of crazy game, trick, magic tricks, strange things to amuse one's self with, disfuntional diversions, perplexing puzzles, etc. Dream up something, send it to:

FLUXMUSEUM
FLUXHIBITION #4
6955 Pinon Street
Fort Worth, Texas 76116
817-944-4000
cecil_touchon@fluxmuseum.org

Be sure to include a filled in Deed of Gift Form

The Future is near! Prepare now.
Don't wait for the dealine, send soon.
All accepted, no returns.

Items become a part of the permanent collection of Fluxmuseum.
A full color catalog will be available when completed.

Did you think Fluxus was dead? A thing of the past? Think again.

All the big names from the contemporary Fluxus art community flex their communal muscle in this extraordinary exhibition focusing on box assemblage. The FluxMuseum in conjunction with the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction has put together its third international exhibition focusing on specific aspects of Fluxus art practice. Works by artists from all over the world have been donated to the Fluxmuseum for this exhibition. Represented in this show are artists from the all parts of the USA, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Greece, Germany, Hungry, Italy, France and Cyprus.

The exhibition to be held during the Month of July (1-31) with a gathering from 6:00-8:00pm on Friday July 10th at The Gallery in the E.H. Hereford University Center at the University of Texas at Arlington in Arlington, Texas. This exhibition is sponsored by the Student Art Association at UTA, a student group that manages and promotes student funded, student managed art exhibitions.

This is the largest exhibition dedicated to contemporary Fluxus/Assemblage box artists ever assembled in the history of the Fluxus community. Box assemblage has been a significant art form within the Fluxus community since its early days. Inspired initially by Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell, Fluxus box assemblage quickly became a staple in the Fluxus community to gather together small works and editions of works from many artists into group and individual box assemblages.

The call for this show got a big boost when Yoko Ono - who has taken an interest since the second Fluxhibition in 2008 - help spread the word this time through her website ImaginePeace.com and through her tweets. Even the New York Times picked up the story. In fact a number of works in the show are inspired by or dedicated to this seminal Fluxus artist.

The FluxMuseum is dedicated to documenting the contemporary global Fluxus art scene and assembling a significant collection of works by contemporary Fluxus artists. The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction is dedicated to the collection, study and exhibition of collage, assemblage and all forms of constructive art.  A catalog will be available when completed. Details online.

Fluxus has always been notoriously difficult to pin down because it has never fit neatly into any category assigned by the art market or the art academy. I have summarized it as concisely as I think is possible into four parts:

  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.

Previous articles here have explored the idea of Fluxus as an attitude. But, what is meant by "intermedia"?

The prevalence of digital communications technologies has tended to lead to some confusion between intermedia and multimedia. I would venture that in the minds of most people, including most artists, the two terms have become interchangable - or the term intermedia has disappeared altogether. This is unfortunate as intermedia is not at all interchangeable with multimedia.

Multimedia is most easily expressed and explained through the medium of video, or in the corporate world, through the application, PowerPoint. Intermedia does not necessarily require more than a single medium to be expressed. Intermedia is not concerned with the number of media that are combined to exhibit a work. An intermedia work can consist of multiple media (multimedia), but can also be expressed through a single medium. The important common denominator of all intermedia is the intersection of different media rather than the number of mediums used in the final product. 

One of the easiest to grasp examples of a single medium intermedia work is visual poetry. Visual poetry exists in its simplest finished form as marks on paper. But it is not just drawing since it generally relies heavily on text - but niether is it just poetry or prose, since it relies heavily on visuality too. Visual poetry is nether poetry nor drawing, but neither is it multimedia. It is intermedia. It is based on exploring the space in which poetry and visual art intersect. Cecil Touchon of Texas takes visual poetry to yet another level by creating visual poems on paper and the re-rendering them as paintings on canvas, which are made available through the mainstream art market.

Other examples of intermedia intersections are "sound art" in which elements of musicality and elements of visual art intersect, and result in work that is neither music nor visual. Sound art fills space like sculpture does, but it does not actually occupy space. It is appreciated through the sense of hearing, but it is not music or poetry. Video art can be multimedia, intermedia, or both. Video by its very nature is usually multimedia, combining audio, images, and time/motion. But to be intermedia there needs to be more than a combination of media - there needs to be an exploration of the space in which media intersect. Artists like my friend Nicolas Carras in France explore this through the video exploration of static images, and by exploring audio and visual elements simultaneously, but independantly of each other.

2

Fluxus Visions is a new collaborative Fluxus book project. Fluxus Vision (http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/fluxus-vision/619464) was published in 2007. It contains 50 visual poems by Allan Revich (me), with 50 brief Fluxus scores on the facing pages.The 2009 follow up publication will be a collaborative event. Fluxus inspired artists and writers are invited to submit up to 10 visual poems, and up to 10 brief Fluxus text pieces to accompany the visual poems on the facing pages. Visual poems should be sent as grayscale jpeg images, 7 inches in width by 10 inches tall, at 300 dpi.Anticipated publication date is October of 2009, so files should arrive by August 31st to be included. All participants will receive a pdf version of the book, and will be able to purchase a copy of the book at cost.

To participate, sign up on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=87665369758)

Ok... so Fluxus is special! But in some ways Fluxus should be nothing special, because the thing that makes Fluxus so special should not be so special. Confused yet? Let me elaborate...

For the past century or so, and especially in the past few decades, there have been only two kinds of "official art". Institutional art, and Outsider art. Institutional art includes all of the art that dominates the art market and the dominant art history. To be part of the institutional art machine requires artists to belong to a market driven, academy supported, and financially privileged elite. Artists can become privileged through personal connections with marketplace heavyweights like the major auction houses or through direct access to capital. The Amercian artist, Jeff Koons is perhaps the best example of an artist who used the proceeds from a wildly successful day-job on Wall Street to finance his initial entry into the equally lucrative world of so-called "major" artists.

A secondary route to privilege is through the educational academies. An MFA from a prestigious university and/or a PhD degree can lead to lifetime security along with nearly unlimited opportunity for exhibition and publication. Outsider artists are the polar opposites of the academic artists in some ways, but like them, can have their art deemed "important" by virtue of their ignorance of the market forces and theoretical underpinnings of their production.

Fluxus is outsider art made by insiders. Fluxus artists occupy an unprivileged middle territory. Fluxus artists tend to be educated (although not always in art schools) and knowledgeable about market forces, art history, and art theory. But becuase Fluxus artists take pride in producing powerful work that requires only limited resources to produce, often fail to penetrate either the art market or the academy. As someone who has been intimately involved with this community for many years I have observed that this state of affairs is not entirely welcomed by Fluxus artists - but neither is it completely unwelcome. Fluxus works is almost always do-it-yourself (or DIY in a small, close community) and the scale is usually small and intimate. These features of Fluxus automatically exclude most Fluxus works from the "blockbuster" super-sized, public exibitions/private sales extravaganzas. The artists that I know don't really mind being excluded from these spectacles; in fact, I think that most of them (myself included) would be decidedly uncomfortable if they were a part of them. On the other hand, Fluxus artists do not particulary enjoy being marginalized and excluded entirely from the market and the academy.

Fluxus is special. It is special because it exists not only in the spaces between media (intermedia), but also in the spaces between cultural practices and artistic theories. Fluxus needs to become something much less "special" (nothing special), while also gaining recognition and respect for its importance. If Fluxus were part of a living body it would be the fluid in the joints. The head is seldom aware of this silent fluid, but the joints sieze up and the body ceases to function without it. If Fluxus were a machine it would be the lubricating oil. Easy to forget until the engine runs dry.

A BOOK ABOUT DEATH : 1000 ARTISTS CONTRIBUTE 500 POST CARDS EACH TO CREATE AN UNBOUND BOOK ABOUT DEATH. EXHIBITION AT THE EMILY HARVEY FOUNDATION GALLERY IN NEW YORK CITY.

OPENING: THURSDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2009. EXHIBITION: 10 - 22 SEPTEMBER 2009.

The Memento Mori is time-honored artistic tradition in visual art. This latest variation, A Book About Death, is being organized by Matthew Rose of Paris, France. As of this date (May 3, 2009) artists are still welcome to contribute. Memento mori is a Latin phrase, the translation of which means "Be mindful of death". Memento Mori projects and creations can vary widely, but they share a common purpose; to remind us of our own mortality.

Please check out the work posted on the Blog, and visit the project Web site. This promises to be a significant event, so don't miss out!

Collab Fest 17, organized and documented by Jim Leftwich, occurred on April 8, 2009. On the Flickr page for Collab Fest 17 there is a really good quote from Laurie Simmons taken from her project at ART : 21. I really like her comment because it explains so concisely the way that artists see the world around them, and are inspired by it.

Laurie Simmons: “I think that artists are always doing research on their own behalf and for their work. For some artists it’s reading. For some it’s shopping. For some it’s traveling. And I think that there’s always this kind of seeking quality that artists have where they’re looking for things that will jog them and move them in one direction or another. For me, movies and books have always been research. Finding objects will always stimulate a series or get my mind going in another direction. I might be wandering around and see a figure or a piece of furniture or a picture that just starts me thinking about a whole other direction that I can move in. And of course that has to intersect with what I’m thinking about, my state of mind, my feeling about current politics or some psychological issue that’s pressing. I see that all as research, just having all the threads of your life come together to tell you where you should go with your work.”

The Collab Fest 17 page has more comments from Art:21 by artists Lari Pittman, Judy Pfaff, and Pierre Huyghe too. There are also some great images on Jim Leftwich's Flickr page, along with the comment above from Laurie Simmons. There is only a single image from Collab Fest 17 on the site, but there are lots of great shots of Collab Fest 18 (April 22, 2009) there. Jim Leftwich has been pretty busy putting together these Collaboration Festivals over the past years, and has about two years worth of images on Flickr.com.

Web sites come, and Web sites go - now is probably a good time for an updated summary of what in webland relates to Fluxus.

Fluxlist
Fluxlist is an internet discussion list for all things Fluxus. Fluxlist was launched in 1996 by Allen Bukoff, Ken Friedman, Dick Higgins, Joe De Marco, Jon Van Oast. Currently maintained by Alan Bowman, Ross Priddle, and Allan Revich.

The Fluxlist Blog
Intermedia web log for Fluxlist members.

Fluxlist Europe
Eurocentric version of the Fluxlist Blog, open to artists outside of Europe too.

OPEN Fluxus
Fluxus social network

Fluxus on Wikipedia

Fluxus Heidelberg Center
Ruud Janssen and Litsa Spathi archives and current work

FLUX-USA
A blog primarily for American Fluxus artists, includes many international artists too.

Fluxus Portal
Art, archives, history, and information about all things Fluxus. Assembled and maintained by Allen Bukoff.

Fluxus Blog
You are reading it right now. The link will bring you to the main page.

FluxMuseum
Museum in Texas dedicated to Fluxus. Curated and managed by Cecil Touchon.

Fluxnexus
Contemporary Fluxus organization.

37 Fluxus Films on UBU WEB

The above links are primarily intended as resources. I will be posting an updated link list of artist currently producing fluxus work soon.

The Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus 2009 grant for young contemporary art called by the State Capital of Wiesbaden and the NKV Nassauischer kunstverein Wiesbaden worth 10.000 Eurohas been awarded to Jimmy Robert.

Jimmy Roberts (born 1975 in Guadeloupe) creates photographs, collages, objects, performances and films that focus on process and transition. While analyzing the relationship between image and object, he concentrates formally on the issue of the point at which a two-dimensional surface ceases to be an image and begins to expand both within our imagination and in reality into something similar to a three-dimensional object.

Each of his images displays an object that is then developed into a spatial sculpture. Here, Roberts systematically explores its relationship to the human body. In his performance, inspired by Yoko Ono's CUT PIECE, he quite literally translates the action of touch and being touched into action, including both himself and the viewer(s). As Jimmy Roberts interprets the action, his upper body is not covered with clothes but gradually surrounded with duct tape. With each piece of tape the audience pulls off him, the artist successively exposes himself while losing pieces that quite literally and figuratively he has been stuck with. At the same time, each stripped-off strip of tape describes sequences of the press reviews of Ono's performance 1966 in London.  

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus supports young international artists whose work suggests ideas inherent to the Fluxus art movement in order to keep the art current alive. The establishment of the grant was inspired by the "Fluxus Festival of Very New Music" which took place in Wiesbaden in 1962. This Fluxus event provided the first real broad impact for the new art movement and started off what is now seen as the first international movement operating in a global network.

Follow Fluxus - After Fluxus
http://www.kunstverein-wiesbaden.de

ll\ NKV
nassauischer kunstverein wiesbaden
wilhelmstr 15
65185 wiesbaden
germany
info@kunstverein-wiesbaden.de

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)