Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life
One of the things—maybe the most important thing—that art is good for is thinking about life. Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life, a major traveling exhibition based on the Hood Museum of Art’s George Maciunas Memorial Collection of Fluxus art, is designed for visitors to experience the radical and influential cultural development that was Fluxus, and maybe learn something about themselves along the way. Fluxus was an international network of artists, composers, and designers that emerged as an art (or “anti-art”) phenomenon in the early 1960s and was noted for blurring the boundaries between art and life.
Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life takes Maciunas’s approach toward art as part of a social process as it’s touchstone. The exhibition is about how Fluxus works, and it encourages visitor interpretation and response through its design and layout. Over one hundred works by Maciunas and other Fluxus artists, including, among many others, George Brecht, Ben Vautier, Yoko Ono, Robert Filliou, Nam June Paik, La Monte Young, Mieko Shiomi, and Ken Friedman, playfully supply answers to fourteen themes, framed as questions, such as “What Am I?,” “Happiness?,” “Health?,” “Freedom?,” and “Danger?” A free newspaper containing a map of the exhibition will allow visitors to go directly to those questions of most pressing interest to themselves.