Energy That Matters: Leonard Cohen

  • Jean Baudrillard
  • Charles Bukowski
  • John Cage
  • Leonard Cohen

He was never closely associated with Fluxus, and his work falls pretty neatly into the modernist traditions of art and writing. So, why have I chosen to write about Cohen in The Fluxus Blog? I guess that the first connection that can be made between him and Fluxus is that one could make the argument that as a poet, singer, and songwriter, Leonard Cohen is engaged in the original Intermedia form. What could be more Intermedia than the intersection between poetry, music, and performance? I think that the argument is valid. But it is not overwhelmingly convincing. Fluxus was also about experimentation, humor, and postmodern philosophical ideas. Never-the-less, I think that poetic minstrels, like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, at the dawn of the postmodern era, deserve a place at the Fluxus table. I chose Cohen primarily because of one stanza in one song. The song is Famous Blue Raincoat, and the stanza speaks about a friend who has moved into the desert to build a small home and plans to live off of the land. Cohen says of his friend, "You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record." And for me, this moves Cohen's work outside of the modernist realm and into the realm of postmodern reflections on meaning and language.

  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Albert Einstein
  • Karl Marx
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Andy Warhol