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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Fluxhibition #2 Classic and Contemporary Scores, Instructions and Artifacts by Fluxus Artists Selections from the Permanent Collection of the Fluxmuseum Catalog for the October 2008 Exhibition at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center in Fort Worth, Texas. 6" x 9", perfect binding, full-color
Works by Angelo Ricciardi, Antonio Picardi, Jamie Newton, Allan Revich, Lorraine Kwan, Gregory Steel, Walter Cianciusi, Yoko Ono, Luc Fierens, Jim Leftwich, Jeff Hogue, Rebecca Cunningham, Don Boyd, Neil Horsky, Larry Miller, Fluxdada, Karl Heinz Jeron, Marco Geovenale, Patrick Anderson-McQuoid and Tomas Schmit, George Brecht, Bibiana Padilla Maltos, Carol Starr, Cecil Touchon, Keith Buchholz, John M. Bennett, Reid Wood, Reed Altemus, Sheila Murphy
The Fluxus artistic philosophy can be expressed as a synthesis of four key factors that define the majority of Fluxus work. The first of these points makes reference to the Fluxus Attitude.Fluxus is an attitude. It is much more than an art history movement, or a style locked between a pair of dates. Fluxus is intermedia. Fluxus creators like to to see what happens when different media intersect.
They use found & everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s artists were beginning to feel that western art was reaching a spiritual and philosophical dead end. Modern western art had exploded in the vibrancy of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s and through most of the 1950s. Then critics and artists became concerned with the concepts behind the art that artists of the time were making. Color Field painting and Minimalism were the mainstream manifestations of this conceptual shift. When combined with the machinations of the art market and its need for expensive commodity objects, art ended up being massive, meaningless, and expensive. What began as artists doing what artists have always done, creating art based on their ideas, ended up becoming a market-driven orgy of excess. Zen, Wabi Sabi, and the East-meets-West work of neo-missionaries like John Cage offered artists a way out. The Event Score happened to be one of the most direct ways for artists to hold on to their artistic integrity without abandoning the conceptual advances that art was making at the mid-century dawn of the postmodern era.
Event Scores have become one of the signature artworks that have come to define Fluxus. On the surface, Event Scores bear some similarities to the Happenings that were made famous by Allan Kaprow, but there are some important differences. Kaprow’s Happenings tended to be long and complicated affairs, sometimes taking entire days to complete. The typical Happening was also a tightly scripted affair. Event Scores are nearly always very brief, and the instructions often deliberately are meant to encourage the score’s performers to improvise and invent their own interpretations of the score. There is a certain irony to this difference given that the term “happening” has come to be associated with the freeform hippy-fests of the 1960s in popular culture, while the much more freeform Events never had the same impact on popular culture.
Cecil Touchon, a contemporary Fluxus artist and gallerist, is currently organizing a new, major exhibition of Fluxus work. The work has been produced by artists who are working in the Fluxus tradition - some of whom also incorporate historical Fluxus event scores into their made-today work. Temporality has always been an important factor in Fluxus, and Cecil has shared with me a short article on the subject, that will form part of the exhibition catalog for Fluxhibition #2. I have taken the liberty of sharing part of this essay with readers of The Fluxus Blog.