VIto Acconci, performance and video artist, who was hugely influential in the New York art world, and in the world at large, died on Thursday, April 28th in NYC.
Like many in my generation, I first became aware of his work in the early 70s through his piece, "Seedbed", in which he built a ramp in a Manhattan art gallery, and lay hidden underneath it - masturbating while visitors walked above him. I fell in love with the idea of pushing art to new limits, and the feeling of artistic freedom and liberation from the constraints of the canvas.
George Maciunas (1931–1978) was a co-founder, and the self-appointed leader of Fluxus, an international community of artists, which was especially active in the United States, Japan, and Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. Today, the Fluxus network continues to thrive in the traditions established all those years ago by Maciuanas and his contemporaries.
What characteristics of an artwork serve to identify a piece as belonging to, or related to, Fluxus?
Historically many artists working in different media have related their work to Fluxus. Some of these artists belonged to a group surrounding the Lithuanian-American artist, George Maciunas, and the American artist, Dick Higgins. After the death of Maciunas, Higgins continued to promote Fluxus, eventually attracting a new generation of artists to the (non) movement, through the co-founding of an Internet mailing list—the Fluxlist. This new group of artists has continued the artistic practice of the first generation, while working towards maintaining the relevance of all generations, into the 21st century.
Let me make it easy for you dear reader. The (short) answer to this question is an unequivocal, "YES!"
If you're still reading, I'll assume that you have some interest in knowing why Fluxus, a "movement" from the early 1960s remains relevant (and dare I say important?) in the early years of the twenty-first century. Let me answer this in three parts. What Fluxus was. What Fluxus is. Why Fluxus is still important.
Jackson Mac Low(September 12, 1922 – December 8, 2004), an early affiliate of the original group of Fluxus artists that surrounded George Maciunas, held distinction as being the first "poet of Fluxus". While many Fluxus artists incorporated (and incorporate) text and visual poetry into the work, Mac Low was the first whose primary creative output was based in poetics. He was one of the key progenitors of mid-century chance operations for artistic creation output.
Artist and musician, La Monte Young, has been to avant garde music what Ray Johnson was to Mail Art. He was influenced by John Cage, but went on to create his own highly influential oeuvre.
When he wrote Trio for Strings, he was still a starving artist eating mustard sandwiches to survive. According to Young [he] “bought the bread and stole the mustard," On September 3, 2015 Young will present the original full-length version of Trio for Strings at Dia. He considers it to be a world premiere, as when it premiered 57 years ago he agreed to shorten it for presentation. A decision he regrets.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY. Fluxus Digital Collection Launch
April 7, 2015—We are pleased to announce the launch of The Fluxus Digital Collection. This online archive gathers an eclectic range of artworks by one of the most important movements of the twentieth century. Global in scope, Fluxus members moved between the USA, Europe, East Asia, and elsewhere. They worked across and between traditional media, opting for ephemeral materials, participatory approaches, and playful humor.
Fluxus was an international group of thinkers, artists, composers, performers and designers that first networked themselves together in the late 1950s, then became a performance collective when they took their name in 1962, then a way of working with time and materials and eventually an art movement creating work in several dimensions and media that lasted from the early 60s through the late 70s and beyond on three continents, blazing the aesthetic trails that were to define the next half century of art history. They shattered old aesthetic boundaries and explored new ones, while grappling internally with their communal identity, under the guidance of their own conflicting, shifting, and morphing opinions of who they were and what they were up to as both a group and as individuals, without clear or firm parameters of what criteria might define their association. They ebbed and flowed as a collective, against the odds, disappearing and reemerging like a simple but mysterious prop in a magician’s routine, through schisms, chasms, reorganizations and excommunications.