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Fluxus Needs a New Name… NOT!

Recently in response to an earlier post on the Fluxus Blog it was suggested that belonging to a "50 year old art movement" was absurd. My friend. colleague, and respected Ray Johnson authority, Mark Bloch, had this to say,

...I am not sure why anyone would want to embrace a 50 year old art movement when there is so much exciting here and now. A friend of mine likened it recently to one of the Fluxus people or someone of their generation being alive and well in the ... See moreearly 60s and instead of embracing all the amazing change going on around them, they would have moved to Paris to regurgitate ancient debates about the color pallettes of Mattise and Picasso...

Fluxus is not a 50 year old art movement. It isn't even an "art movement". Art movements are framed by beginning dates and end dates. Sometimes there can be some debate about where to place the date markers, but all art movements are defined in this way. Art historians, academics, and theorists seem to have difficulty grasping the idea that not all art belongs to a "movement".

I'll try to make it as simple as I can for people that know too much about art.

1) Fluxus is not a movement, it is an attitude. It's a way to approach art and life. Attitudes do not exist between dates in calendars.
2) Fluxus should be conceptualized more like its antecedents, one of which was Zen Buddhism. It is as ridiculous to say that Fluxus ended when Maciuanas died, or when Higgins died, as it would be to say that Zen died when Buddha died.  Not to say that Higgins or Maciuanas were anything like prophets or Messiahs (that would be John Cage ;-)) ...just to illustrate that there are perfectly "normal" ways to approach art-making and living that don't require being slotted into a "movement" or time period.
3) Fluxus doesn't need a new name. The name it has works just fine. If it walks like a duck and it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck. Saying that Fluxus needs a new name for new artists is as ridiculous as saying that ducks in Canada should have a different name than ducks in the USA.

(with appologies to my readers for the dorky "NOT!" cliche in the headline)

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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!".

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