HOME

TheInfoList




Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s and 1970s who engaged in experimental art performances which emphasized the artistic process over the finished product. Fluxus is known for experimental contributions to different artistic media and disciplines and for generating new art forms. These art forms include
intermedia Intermedia was a term used in the mid-1960s by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe various inter-disciplinary art activities that occurred between genres in the 1960s. It was also used by John Brockman to refer to works in expanded cinema tha ...

intermedia
, a term coined by Fluxus artist
Dick Higgins Dick Higgins (1938–1998) was an American artist, composer, art theorist, poet, publisher, printmaker, and a co-founder of the Fluxus international artistic movement (and community). Inspired by John Cage, Higgins was an early pioneer of electroni ...
;
conceptual art Conceptual art, also referred to as conceptualism, is art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is n ...
, first developed by
Henry Flynt Henry Flynt (born 1940 in Greensboro, North Carolina) is an American philosopher, musician, writer, activist, and artist connected to the 1960s New York avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard ...

Henry Flynt
, an artist contentiously associated with Fluxus; and
video art Video art is an art form which relies on using video technology as a visual and audio medium. Video art emerged during the late 1960s as new consumer video technology such as video tape recorders became available outside corporate broadcasting. ...
, first pioneered by
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
and
Wolf Vostell Wolf Vostell (14 October 1932 – 3 April 1998) was a German painter and sculptor, considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-sp ...

Wolf Vostell
. Dutch gallerist and art critic Harry Ruhé describes Fluxus as "the most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties."Ruhé, Harry. 1979. ''Fluxus, the Most Radical and Experimental Art Movement of the Sixties'' Amsterdam: Editions Galerie A. They produced performance "events," which included enactments of scores, "
Neo-Dada Neo-Dada was a movement with audio, visual The visual system comprises the sensory organ (the eye) and parts of the central nervous system (the retina containing photoreceptor cells, the optic nerve The optic nerve, also known as crania ...
"
noise music Noise music is a genre of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise Noise is unwanted sound considered unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing. From a physics standpoint, noise is indistinguishable from desired sound, as bo ...

noise music
, and time-based works, as well as
concrete poetry Concrete poetry is an arrangement of linguistic elements in which the typographical effect is more important in conveying meaning than verbal significance. It is sometimes referred to as visual poetry Literary theorists have identified visual p ...
,
visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts to ...
,
urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of ...
, architecture, design, literature, and publishing. Many Fluxus artists share anti-commercial and
anti-art Anti-art is a loosely used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point o ...
sensibilities. Fluxus is sometimes described as "intermedia". The ideas and practices of composer
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
heavily influenced Fluxus. Especially, his notions that one should embark on an artwork without a conception of its end, and his understanding of the work as a site of interaction between artist and audience. The process of creating was privileged over the finished product. Another notable influence were the readymades of
Marcel Duchamp Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (; ; 28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a French Americans, French-American painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. Duchamp is commonly regarded, a ...

Marcel Duchamp
, a French artist who was active in
Dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (Zurich), Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 ...

Dada
(1916 – c. 1922).
George Maciunas George Maciunas (; lt, Jurgis Mačiūnas; November 8, 1931 – May 9, 1978) was a Lithuanian American artist, born in Kaunas Kaunas (; ; also see other names) is the second-largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (198 ...
, largely considered to be the founder of this fluid movement, coined the name Fluxus in 1961 to title a proposed magazine. Many artists of the 1960s took part in Fluxus activities, including
Joseph Beuys Joseph Heinrich Beuys ( , ; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech an ...
,
George Brecht George Brecht (August 27, 1926 – December 5, 2008), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American Conceptual Art, conceptual artist and avant-garde composer, as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfi ...
,
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
,
Robert Filliou Robert Filliou (17 January 1926 – 2 December 1987) was a French artist associated with Fluxus, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro. Life In 1943, Filliou became a member of the French Communist ...
,
Al Hansen Alfred Earl "Al" Hansen (5 October 1927 – 22 June 1995) was an American artist. He was a member of Fluxus, a movement that originated on an artists' collective around George Maciunas. He was the father of Andy Warhol protégé Bibbe Hansen and ...
,
Dick Higgins Dick Higgins (1938–1998) was an American artist, composer, art theorist, poet, publisher, printmaker, and a co-founder of the Fluxus international artistic movement (and community). Inspired by John Cage, Higgins was an early pioneer of electroni ...
,
Bengt af Klintberg Bengt af Klintberg (Bengt Knut Erik af Klintberg) (b. 25 December 1938 in Stockholm) is a Sweden, Swedish folklorist, ethnologist, and artist who is known for his work on modern urban legends. His work reached a large audience with such books as ''R ...
,
Alison Knowles Alison Knowles (born 1933) is an American visual artist known for her installations, performances, soundworks, and publications. Knowles was a founding member of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, ...

Alison Knowles
, Addi Køpcke,
Yoko Ono Yoko Ono ( ; ja, 小野 洋子, Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word ''kat ...
,
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
,
Joseph Byrd Joseph Hunter Byrd, Jr. (born December 19, 1937) is an American composer, musician and academic. After first becoming known as an experimental music, experimental composer in New York City and Los Angeles in the early and mid-1960s, he became the ...
,
Ben Patterson Benjamin Patterson (May 29, 1934 – June 25, 2016) was an American musician, artist, and one of the founders of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s a ...
,
Daniel Spoerri Daniel Spoerri (born 27 March 1930) is a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland *Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, Wisconsin Other uses *Swiss-system tournament, in v ...
,
Ken FriedmanKen Friedman, (born September 19, 1949 in New London, Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of hu ...
, and
Wolf Vostell Wolf Vostell (14 October 1932 – 3 April 1998) was a German painter and sculptor, considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-sp ...

Wolf Vostell
. Not only were they a diverse community of collaborators who influenced each other, they were also, largely, friends. They collectively had what were, at the time, radical ideas about art and the role of art in society. The intersecting communities within Fluxus and the way that Fluxus developed in overlapping stages meant that participants each had very different ideas about what Fluxus was. Fluxus founder George Maciunas proposed a well known manifesto, but few considered Fluxus to be a true movement, and therefore the manifesto was not largely adopted. Instead, a series of festivals in Wiesbaden, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, and New York, gave rise to a loose but robust community with many similar beliefs. In keeping with the reputation Fluxus earned as a forum of experimentation, some Fluxus artists came to describe Fluxus as a laboratory. Fluxus played an important role in the broadening of what is considered art.


History to 1965


Origins

The origins of Fluxus lie in many of the concepts explored by composer
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
in his
experimental music Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilities radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionaliz ...
of the 1930s through the 1960s. After attending courses on Zen Buddhism taught by D. T. Suzuki, Cage taught a series of classes in experimental composition from 1957 to 1959 at the
New School for Social Research The New School for Social Research (NSSR) is an educational institution that is part of The New School The New School is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a char ...
in New York City. These classes explored the notions of chance and
indeterminacy Indeterminacy or underdeterminacy may refer to: * Indeterminacy in computation (disambiguation) * Aleatoric music and indeterminacy in music. * Statically indeterminate *Indeterminacy (literature) a literary term * In set theory and game theory, the ...
in art, using music scores as a basis for compositions that could be performed in potentially infinite ways. Some of the artists and musicians who became involved in Fluxus, including
Jackson Mac LowImage:Gloria Graham Jackson Mac Low.jpg, 250px, Jackson Mac Low, photographed by Gloria Graham during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2003 Jackson Mac Low (September 12, 1922 – December 8, 2004) was an American poet, performance artist, composer ...
,
La Monte Young La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer, musician, and artist recognized as one of the first American minimalist In visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, s ...
,
George Brecht George Brecht (August 27, 1926 – December 5, 2008), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American Conceptual Art, conceptual artist and avant-garde composer, as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfi ...
,
Al Hansen Alfred Earl "Al" Hansen (5 October 1927 – 22 June 1995) was an American artist. He was a member of Fluxus, a movement that originated on an artists' collective around George Maciunas. He was the father of Andy Warhol protégé Bibbe Hansen and ...
, and
Dick Higgins Dick Higgins (1938–1998) was an American artist, composer, art theorist, poet, publisher, printmaker, and a co-founder of the Fluxus international artistic movement (and community). Inspired by John Cage, Higgins was an early pioneer of electroni ...
attended Cage's classes. A major influence is found in the work of
Marcel Duchamp Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (; ; 28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a French Americans, French-American painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. Duchamp is commonly regarded, a ...

Marcel Duchamp
. Also of importance was ''Dada Poets and Painters'', edited by Robert Motherwell, a book of translations of Dada texts that was widely read by members of Fluxus. The term
anti-art Anti-art is a loosely used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point o ...
, a precursor to
Dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (Zurich), Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 ...

Dada
, was coined by Duchamp around 1913, when he created his first readymades from
found object A found object (a loan translation In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional ...
s (ordinary objects found or purchased and declared art). Indifferently chosen, readymades and altered readymades challenged the notion of art as an inherently optical experience, dependent on academic art skills. The most famous example is Duchamp's altered readymade ''
Fountain A fountain, from the "fons" ( "fontis"), meaning source or , is a decorative reservoir for discharging into a basin to supply . It is also a structure that jets water into the air for a decorative or dramatic effect. Fountains were original ...
'' (1917), a work which he signed "R. Mutt." While taking refuge from WWI in New York, in 1915 Duchamp formed a Dada group with
Francis Picabia Francis Picabia (: born Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia; 22January 1879 – 30November 1953) was a French avant-garde painter, poet and typographist. After experimenting with Impressionism and Pointillism, Picabia became associated with Cubism. ...

Francis Picabia
and American artist
Man Ray Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky; August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in . He was a significant contributor to the and movements, although his ties to each were informal. He p ...
. Other key members included ,
Florine Stettheimer Florine Stettheimer (August 19, 1871 – May 11, 1944) was an United States of America, American Modernism, modernist painter, feminism, feminist, theatrical designer, poet, and Salon (gathering), salonnière. Stettheimer developed a feminine, th ...

Florine Stettheimer
, and the
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven Elsa Hildegard Baroness von Freytag-Loringhoven (née Plötz; 12 July 1874 – 14 December 1927) was a German avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, ...

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven
, credited by some with proposing the idea for
Fountain A fountain, from the "fons" ( "fontis"), meaning source or , is a decorative reservoir for discharging into a basin to supply . It is also a structure that jets water into the air for a decorative or dramatic effect. Fountains were original ...
to Duchamp. By 1916 these artists, especially Duchamp, Man Ray, and Picabia, became the center for radical anti-art activities in New York City. Their artworks would inform Fluxus and
conceptual art Conceptual art, also referred to as conceptualism, is art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is n ...
in general. In the late 1950s and very early 1960s, Fluxus and contemporaneous groups or movements, including
Happenings A happening is a performance, event, or situation art, usually as performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be live, through documentation, spo ...
,
Nouveau réalisme Nouveau réalisme (French: new realism) refers to an artistic movement founded in 1960 by the art critic Pierre Restany and the painter Yves Klein during the first collective exposition in the Apollinaire gallery in Milan. Pierre Restany wrote ...
,
mail art Mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the mail, postal service. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence ...
, and action art in Japan, Austria, and other international locations were, often placed under the rubric of
Neo-Dada Neo-Dada was a movement with audio, visual The visual system comprises the sensory organ (the eye) and parts of the central nervous system (the retina containing photoreceptor cells, the optic nerve The optic nerve, also known as crania ...
". A number of other contemporary events are credited as either anticipating Fluxus or as constituting proto-Fluxus events. The most commonly cited include the series of Chambers Street loft concerts, in New York, curated by
Yoko Ono Yoko Ono ( ; ja, 小野 洋子, Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word ''kat ...
and La Monte Young in 1961, featuring pieces by Ono,
Jackson Mac LowImage:Gloria Graham Jackson Mac Low.jpg, 250px, Jackson Mac Low, photographed by Gloria Graham during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2003 Jackson Mac Low (September 12, 1922 – December 8, 2004) was an American poet, performance artist, composer ...
,
Joseph Byrd Joseph Hunter Byrd, Jr. (born December 19, 1937) is an American composer, musician and academic. After first becoming known as an experimental music, experimental composer in New York City and Los Angeles in the early and mid-1960s, he became the ...
, and
Henry Flynt Henry Flynt (born 1940 in Greensboro, North Carolina) is an American philosopher, musician, writer, activist, and artist connected to the 1960s New York avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard ...

Henry Flynt
; the month-long ''Yam'' festival held in upstate New York by George Brecht and
Robert Watts Robert Watts (born 23 May 1938)Adam Pirani, ''Robert Watts: Secrets of "The Temple of Doom"'', Starlog #94, April 1985, pp 23–26,62. is a British film producer who is best known for his involvement with the ''Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is a ...
in May 1963 with
Ray Johnson Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995) was an American artist. Known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, he was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art and was described as
and
Allan Kaprow Allan Kaprow (August 23, 1927 – April 5, 2006) was an American painter, Assemblage (art), assemblagist and a pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art. He helped to develop the "Installation art, Environment" and "Happening" in the ...

Allan Kaprow
(the culmination of a year's worth of
Mail Art Mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the mail, postal service. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence ...
pieces); and a series of concerts held in
Mary Bauermeister File:Ein Abend mit der „Mutter“ der Fluxus-Bewegung Mary Bauermeister-3725.jpg, Bauermeister and her son Simon Stockhausen in 2019 Mary Hilde Ruth Bauermeister (born 7 September 1934) is a German artist who works in sculpture, drawing, instal ...
's studio, Cologne, 1960–61, featuring
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
and John Cage among many others. It was at one of these events in 1960, during his Etude pour Piano, that Paik leapt into the audience and cut John Cage's tie off, ran out of the concert hall, and then phoned the hall's organisers to announce the piece had ended. As one of the movement's founders, Dick Higgins, stated:
Fluxus started with the work, and then came together, applying the name Fluxus to work which already existed. It was as if it started in the middle of the situation, rather than at the beginning.
The American musician and artist La Monte Young had been enlisted to guest-edit an issue of a literary journal, ''Beatitude East'', and asked George Maciunas, a trained graphic designer, for help with the layout. Maciunas supplied the paper, design, and some money for publishing the anthology which contained the work of a more or less arbitrary group of New York
avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or 'vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, Wikt:radical#Adjective, radical, or unorthodox with respect to The arts, art, culture, or society.John Picchione, The New A ...
artists from that time. By the end of 1961 before ''
An Anthology of Chance Operations An may refer to: Science and technology * ''An'', in mathematics, a root system In mathematics, a root system is a configuration of vector space, vectors in a Euclidean space satisfying certain geometrical properties. The concept is fundamental ...

An Anthology of Chance Operations
'' was completed (it was finally published in 1963 by Mac Low and Young), Maciunas had moved to Germany to escape his creditors and work for the U.S. military. From there, he continued his contact with the New York artists and with artists like Benjamin Patterson, whom he met in Europe, by September 1962 was joined by Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, who traveled to Europe to help him promote a second planned publication to be called "Fluxus", the first of a series of "yearbooks" of artists' works.


Early Fluxus and Neo-Dada

Lithuanian-born
George Maciunas George Maciunas (; lt, Jurgis Mačiūnas; November 8, 1931 – May 9, 1978) was a Lithuanian American artist, born in Kaunas Kaunas (; ; also see other names) is the second-largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (198 ...
coined the name Fluxus for art produced by a range of artists with a shared sensibility as an attempt to 'fuse... cultural, social, & political revolutionaries into united front and action'. After fleeing Lithuania at the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, his family settled in New York, where he first met a group of avant-garde artists and musicians centered around John Cage and La Monte Young. After opening a short-lived art gallery on
Madison Avenue Madison Avenue is a north-south avenue in the borough A borough is an administrative division in various English language, English-speaking countries. In principle, the term ''borough'' designates a self-governing walled town, although in ...
, which showed work by Higgins,
Yoko Ono Yoko Ono ( ; ja, 小野 洋子, Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word ''kat ...
,
Jonas Mekas Jonas Mekas (; December 24, 1922 – January 23, 2019) was a Lithuanian-American Lithuanian Americans refers to American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as ...

Jonas Mekas
,
Ray Johnson Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995) was an American artist. Known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, he was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art and was described as
, Flynt and Young, Maciunas moved to
Wiesbaden Wiesbaden () is a city in central western Germany and the capital of the state of Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a German states, state in Germany. Its ...

Wiesbaden
, West Germany, having taken a job as a graphic designer with the
US Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphe ...
in late 1961 after the gallery had gone bust. Maciunas first publicly coined the term ''Fluxus'' (meaning 'to flow') in a 'brochure prospectus' that he distributed to the audience at a festival he had organized, called ''Aprés Cage; Kleinen Sommerfest'' (After Cage; a Small Summer Festival), in
Wuppertal Wuppertal (; "''Wupper The Wupper is a right tributary A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tr ...

Wuppertal
, West Germany, 9 June 1962. Maciunas was an avid art historian, and initially referred to fluxus as 'neo-dadaism' or 'renewed dadaism'. He wrote a number of letters to
Raoul Hausmann Raoul Hausmann (July 12, 1886 – February 1, 1971) was an Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in t ...

Raoul Hausmann
, an original
dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) or, at ...

dada
ist, outlining his ideas. Hausmann discouraged the use of the term;
I note with much pleasure what you said about German neodadaists—but I think even the Americans should not use the term "neodadaism" because neo means nothing and -ism is old-fashioned. Why not simply "Fluxus"? It seems to me much better, because it's new, and dada is historic.
As part of the festival, Maciunas wrote a lecture entitled 'Neo-Dada in the United States'. After an attempt to define 'Concretist Neo-Dada' art, he explained that Fluxus was opposed to the exclusion of the everyday from art. Using 'anti-art and artistic banalities', Fluxus would fight the 'traditional artificialities of art'. The lecture ended with the declaration "Anti-art is life, is nature, is true reality—it is one and all."


European festivals and the Fluxkits

In 1962, Maciunas, Higgins and Knowles, traveled to Europe to promote the planned Fluxus publication with concerts of antique musical instruments. With the help of a group of artists including
Joseph Beuys Joseph Heinrich Beuys ( , ; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech an ...
and
Wolf Vostell Wolf Vostell (14 October 1932 – 3 April 1998) was a German painter and sculptor, considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-sp ...

Wolf Vostell
, Maciunas eventually organised a series of ''Fluxfests'' across Western Europe. Starting with 14 concerts between 1 and 23 September 1962, at
Wiesbaden Wiesbaden () is a city in central western Germany and the capital of the state of Hesse Hesse (, , ) or Hessia (, ; german: Hessen ), officially the State of Hessen (german: links=no, Land Hessen), is a German states, state in Germany. Its ...

Wiesbaden
, these ''Fluxfests'' presented work by musicians such as John Cage, ,
Penderecki Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki (; 23 November 1933 – 29 March 2020) was a Polish composer and conducting, conductor. Among his best known List of compositions by Krzysztof Penderecki, works are ''Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima'', Symphony ...

Penderecki
,
Terry Riley Terrence Mitchell Riley (born June 24, 1935), is an American composer and performing musician best known as a pioneer of the minimalist In visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture ...

Terry Riley
and
Brion Gysin Brion Gysin (19 January 1916 – 13 July 1986) was a painter, writer, sound poet, performance artist and inventor of experimental devices born in Taplow, Buckinghamshire. He is best known for his use of the cut-up technique, alongside his close ...
alongside
performance A performance is an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment. It is also defined as the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function. Management science In the work place ...
pieces written by Higgins, Knowles, George Brecht and
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
,
Ben Patterson Benjamin Patterson (May 29, 1934 – June 25, 2016) was an American musician, artist, and one of the founders of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s a ...
,
Robert Filliou Robert Filliou (17 January 1926 – 2 December 1987) was a French artist associated with Fluxus, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro. Life In 1943, Filliou became a member of the French Communist ...
, and
Emmett Williams Emmett Williams (4 April 1925 – 14 February 2007) was an American poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perfo ...
, amongst many others. One performance in particular, ''Piano Activities'' by
Philip Corner Philip Lionel Corner (born April 10, 1933; name sometimes given as Phil Corner) is an American composer, trombonist The trombone is a musical instrument in the Brass instrument, brass family. As with all brass instruments, sound is produced whe ...
, became notorious by challenging the important status of the piano in post-war German homes. The score—which asks for any number of performers to, among other things, "play", "pluck or tap", "scratch or rub", "drop objects" on, "act on strings with", "strike soundboard, pins, lid or drag various kinds of objects across them" and "act in any way on underside of piano"—resulted in the total destruction of a piano when performed by Maciunas, Higgins and others at Wiesbaden. The performance was considered scandalous enough to be shown on German television four times, with the introduction "The lunatics have escaped!"
At the end we did Corner's ''Piano Activities'' not according to his instructions since we systematically destroyed a piano which I bought for $5 and had to have it all cut up to throw it away, otherwise we would have had to pay movers, a very practical composition, but German sentiments about this "instrument of Chopin" were hurt and they made a row about it...
At the same time, Maciunas used his connections at work to start printing cheap mass-produced books and multiples by some of the artists that were involved in the performances. The first three to be printed were ''Composition 1961'' by La Monte Youn
see
''An Anthology of Chance Operations'' edited by Young and Mac Low and '' Water Yam'', by George Brecht. ''Water Yam'', a series of event scores printed on small sheets of card and collected together in a cardboard box, was the first in a series of artworks that Maciunas printed that became known as ''Fluxkits''. Cheap, mass-produced and easily distributed, ''Fluxkits'' were originally intended to form an ever-expanding library of modern
performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be witnessed live or through documentation, spontaneously developed or written, and is traditionally presented to a pu ...
. ''Water Yam'' was published in an edition of 1000 and originally cost $4. By April 1964, almost a year later, Maciunas still had 996 copies unsold. Maciunas' original plan had been to design, edit and pay for each edition himself, in exchange for the copyright to be held by the collective. Profits were to be split 80/20 at first, in favor of the artist. Since most of the composers already had publishing deals, Fluxus quickly moved away from music toward performance and visual art. John Cage, for instance, never published work under the Fluxus moniker due to his contract with the music publishers
Edition Peters Edition Peters is a classical music Music publisher (sheet music), publisher founded in Leipzig, Germany in 1800. History The company came into being on 1 December 1800 when the Vienna, Viennese composer Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754–1812) and ...

Edition Peters
.
Maciunas seemed to have a fantastic ability to get things done.... if you had things to be printed he could get them printed. It's pretty hard in East Brunswick to get good offset printing. It's not impossible, but it's not so easy, and since I'm very lazy it was a relief to find somebody who could take the burden off my hands. So there was this guy Maciunas, a Lithuanian or Bulgarian, or somehow a refugee or whatever—beautifully dressed—"astonishing looking" would be a better adjective. He was somehow able to carry the whole thing off, without my having to go 57 miles to find a printer.
Since Maciunas was
colorblind Color blindness (color vision deficiency) is the decreased ability to see color or differences in color Color ( American English), or colour ( Commonwealth English), is the characteristic of visual perception described through color ...
, Fluxus multiples were almost always black and white.


New York and the FluxShops

After his contract with the US Air Force was terminated due to ill health, Maciunas was forced to return to the US on 3 September 1963. Once back in New York, he set about organizing a series of street concerts and opened a new shop, the 'Fluxhall', on Canal Street. 12 concerts, "away from the beaten track of the New York art scene", took place on Canal Street, 11 April to 23 May 1964. With photographs taken by Maciunas himself, pieces by
Ben Vautier Ben Vautier (born July 18, 1935 in Naples, Italy), also known simply as Ben, is a France, French artist. Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called ''Magazin'' between 1958 and 1973. He discovered Yves Klein and the Nouvea ...
,
Alison Knowles Alison Knowles (born 1933) is an American visual artist known for her installations, performances, soundworks, and publications. Knowles was a founding member of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, ...

Alison Knowles
and
Takehisa Kosugi was a Japanese composer, violinist and artist associated with the Fluxus movement. Biography Kosugi studied musicology at the Tokyo University of the Arts and graduated in 1962. He first became drawn to music listening to his father play harmo ...
were performed in the street for free, although in practice there was 'no audience to speak of' anyway.
The people in Fluxus had understood, as Brecht explained, that "concert halls, theaters, and art galleries" were "mummifying". Instead, these artists found themselves "preferring streets, homes, and railway stations...." Maciunas recognized a radical political potential in all this forthrightly anti-institutional production, which was an important source for his own deep commitment to it. Deploying his expertise as a professional graphic designer, Maciunas played an important role in projecting upon Fluxus whatever coherence it would later seem to have had.
Along with the New York shop, Maciunas built up a distribution network for the new art across Europe and later outlets in California and Japan. Gallery and mail order outlets were established in Amsterdam, Villefranche-Sur-Mer, Milan and London, amongst others. By 1965, the first anthology '' Fluxus 1'' was available, consisting of manila envelopes bolted together containing work by numerous artists who would later become famous including La Monte Young,
Christo Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935–2020) and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009), known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, were artists noted for their large-scale, site-specific art, site-specific environmental art, environmental art in ...
,
Joseph Byrd Joseph Hunter Byrd, Jr. (born December 19, 1937) is an American composer, musician and academic. After first becoming known as an experimental music, experimental composer in New York City and Los Angeles in the early and mid-1960s, he became the ...
and Yoko Ono. Other pieces available included packs of altered playing cards by George Brecht, sensory boxes by
Ay-O Takao Iijima (born May 19, 1931), better known by his art name Ay-O, (靉嘔 ''Ai Ō'') is a Japanese artist who has been associated with Fluxus since its international beginnings in the 1960s. Biography From Democrato to Fluxus Ay-O started hi ...

Ay-O
, a regular newsletter with contributions by artists and musicians such as
Ray Johnson Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995) was an American artist. Known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, he was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art and was described as
and John Cale, and tin cans filled with poems, songs and recipes about beans by
Alison Knowles Alison Knowles (born 1933) is an American visual artist known for her installations, performances, soundworks, and publications. Knowles was a founding member of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, ...

Alison Knowles

see
. A videotape of George and Billy Maciunas' wedding was produced by Dimitri Devyatkin.


Stockhausen's ''Originale''

After returning to New York, Maciunas became reacquainted with Henry Flynt, who encouraged members of Fluxus to take a more overtly political stance. One of the results of these discussions was to set up a picket line at the American premiere of ''
Originale ''Originale'' (Originals, or "Real Characters"), musical theatre with ''Kontakte'', is a music theatre work by the German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, written in collaboration with the artist Mary Bauermeister. It was first performed in 1961 in ...

Originale
'', a recent work by the German composer
Karlheinz Stockhausen Karlheinz Stockhausen (; 22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th 20 (twenty; Roman numeral XX) is the natural numbe ...
, 8 September 1964.Bloch, Mark. "On Originale.", from Bloch, Mark, editor
. "Robert Delford Brown: Meat, Maps and Militant Metaphysics," Cameron Museum of Art, Wilmington, N.C., 2008.
Stockhausen was deemed a 'Cultural Imperialist' by Maciunas and Flynt, while other members vehemently disagreed. The result was members of Fluxus, such as Nam June Paik and Jackson Mac Low, crossing a picket line made up of other members, including Ben Vautier and Takako Saito who handed out leaflets denouncing Stockhausen as "a characteristic European-North American ruling-class Artist". Dick Higgins participated in the picket, and then coolly joined the other performers inside;
Maciunas and his friend Henry Flynt tried to get the Fluxus people to march around outside the circus with white cards that said Originale was bad. And they tried to say that the Fluxus people who were in the circus weren't Fluxus any more. That was silly, because it made a split. I thought it was funny, and so first I walked around with Maciunas and with Henry with a card, then I went inside and joined the circus; so both groups got angry with me. Oh well. Some people say that Fluxus died that day—I once thought so myself—but it turned out I was wrong.
The event, arranged by Charlotte Moorman as part of her ''2nd Annual New York Avant Garde Festival'', would cement animosities between Maciunas and her, with Maciunas frequently demanding that artists associated with Fluxus have nothing to do with the annual festival, and would often expel artists who ignored his demands. This hostility continued throughout Maciunas' life—much to Moorman's bemusement—despite her continued championing of Fluxus art and artists.


History, 1965–78


Perceived insurgencies and the Asiatic influence

The picketing of ''Originale'' marked the high point of Maciunas'
agitprop Agitprop (; from rus, агитпроп, r=Agitpróp, portmanteau of ''agitatsiya'', "agitation" and ''propaganda'', "propaganda") is the promulgation of ideas (in Russian, "propaganda" does not have the pejorative connotation that it has acquired ...
approach, an approach that estranged many of Fluxus' early proponents; Jackson Mac Low had resigned immediately after hearing 'antisocial' plans laid in April 1963, such as breaking down trucks under the Hudson River. Brecht threatened to quit on the same issue, and then left New York in the spring of 1965. Despite his continued allegiance to Fluxus ideals, Dick Higgins fell out with Maciunas around the same time, ostensibly over his setting up the
Something Else PressSomething Else Press was founded by Dick Higgins in 1963. It published many important Intermedia texts and artworks by such Fluxus artists as Higgins, Ray Johnson, Alison Knowles, Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, Daniel Spoerri, Robert Filliou, Al Hanse ...
which printed many texts by key Fluxus-related personalities and other members of the avant garde. Charlotte Moorman continued to present her annual Avant Garde Festivals. Such perceived insurrections in the coherence of Maciunas' leadership of Fluxus provided an opening for Fluxus to become increasingly influenced by Japanese members of the group. Since returning to Japan in 1961, Yoko Ono had been recommending colleagues look Maciunas up if they moved to New York; by the time she had returned, in early 1965, Hi Red Center,
Shigeko Kubota (2 August 1937 – 23 July 2015) was a Japanese video artist, sculptor and avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with resp ...
, Takako Saito, Mieko Shiomi and
Ay-O Takao Iijima (born May 19, 1931), better known by his art name Ay-O, (靉嘔 ''Ai Ō'') is a Japanese artist who has been associated with Fluxus since its international beginnings in the 1960s. Biography From Democrato to Fluxus Ay-O started hi ...

Ay-O
had all started to make work for Fluxus, often of a contemplative nature. In 1969, Fluxus artist Joe Jones opened his ''JJ Music Store'' (aka ''Tone Deaf Music Store'') at 18
North Moore Street North Moore Street is a moderately trafficked street in TriBeCa, a neighborhood in the New York City borough (New York City), borough of Manhattan. It runs roughly east–west between West Broadway (Manhattan), West Broadway and West Side Highway, ...
, where he presented his repetitive drone music machines. He created there an installation in the window so that anyone could press numerous door buttons to play the
noise music Noise music is a genre of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise Noise is unwanted sound considered unpleasant, loud or disruptive to hearing. From a physics standpoint, noise is indistinguishable from desired sound, as bo ...

noise music
machines displayed there. Jones also presented small musical installation performances there, alone or with other Fluxus artists, such as
Yoko Ono Yoko Ono ( ; ja, 小野 洋子, Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word ''kat ...
and
John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 19408 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist A peace movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by ...
, among others. From April 18th to June 12th, 1970, Ono and Lennon (aka
Plastic Ono Band The Plastic Ono Band was a rock band formed by John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 19408 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist A peace movement is a social ...
) presented a series of Fluxus art events and concerts there called ''GRAPEFRUIT FLUXBANQUET''. It was promoted with a poster designed by Fluxus leader
George Maciunas George Maciunas (; lt, Jurgis Mačiūnas; November 8, 1931 – May 9, 1978) was a Lithuanian American artist, born in Kaunas Kaunas (; ; also see other names) is the second-largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (198 ...
. Performances included ''Come Impersonating John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Grapefruit Banquet'' (April 11-17) by George Maciunas, Yoshimasa Wada, Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Bici Forbes and Bici Forbes Hendricks),
Geoffrey HendricksGeoffrey Hendricks (July 30, 1931 in Littleton, New Hampshire – May 12, 2018) was an American artist associated with Fluxus since the mid 1960s. He was professor emeritus of art at Rutgers University, where he taught from 1956 to 2003 and was assoc ...
, and
Robert Watts Robert Watts (born 23 May 1938)Adam Pirani, ''Robert Watts: Secrets of "The Temple of Doom"'', Starlog #94, April 1985, pp 23–26,62. is a British retired film producer who is best known for his involvement with the ''Star Wars ''Star W ...
; ''Do It Yourself'' (April 11-17) by Yoko Ono; ''Tickets by John Lennon + Fluxagents'' (April 18–24) with Wada,
Ben Vautier Ben Vautier (born July 18, 1935 in Naples, Italy), also known simply as Ben, is a France, French artist. Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called ''Magazin'' between 1958 and 1973. He discovered Yves Klein and the Nouvea ...
and Maciunas; ''Clinic by Yoko Ono + Hi Red Center'' (April 25-May 1); ''Blue Room by Yoko + Fluxmasterliars'' (May 2-8); ''Weight & Water by Yoko + Fluxfiremen'' (May 9-15); ''Capsule by Yoko + Flux Space Center'' (May 16–22) with Maciunas,
Paul Sharits Paul Jeffrey Sharits (February 7, 1943, Denver Denver (), officially the City and County of Denver, is the List of capitals in the United States#State capital, capital and List of U.S. states' largest cities by population, most populous ci ...
,
George Brecht George Brecht (August 27, 1926 – December 5, 2008), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American Conceptual Art, conceptual artist and avant-garde composer, as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfi ...
,
Ay-O Takao Iijima (born May 19, 1931), better known by his art name Ay-O, (靉嘔 ''Ai Ō'') is a Japanese artist who has been associated with Fluxus since its international beginnings in the 1960s. Biography From Democrato to Fluxus Ay-O started hi ...

Ay-O
, Ono, Watts, John Cavanaugh; ''Portrait of
John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 19408 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist A peace movement is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by ...
as a Young Cloud by Yoko + Everybody'' (May 23–29); ''The Store by Yoko + Fluxfactory'' (May 30-June 5), with Ono, Maciunas, Wada, Ay-O; and finally ''Examination by Yoko + Fluxschool'' (June 6-12) with Ono, Geoffrey Hendricks, Watts, Mieko Shiomi and
Robert Filliou Robert Filliou (17 January 1926 – 2 December 1987) was a French artist associated with Fluxus, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro. Life In 1943, Filliou became a member of the French Communist ...
.


Blurring boundaries

As Fluxus gradually became more famous, Maciunas' ambitions for the sale of cheap multiples grew. The second flux-anthology, the ''Fluxkit'' (late 1964), collected together early 3D work made by the collective in a businessman's case, an idea borrowed directly from Duchamp's ''Boite en Valise'' Within a year, plans for a new anthology, ''Fluxus 2'', were in full swing to contain Flux films by
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
and Yoko Ono (with hand held projectors provided), disrupted matchboxes and postcards by Ben Vautier, plastic food by
Claes Oldenburg Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is a Swedish-born American sculpture, sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of ev ...

Claes Oldenburg
, FluxMedicine by
Shigeko Kubota (2 August 1937 – 23 July 2015) was a Japanese video artist, sculptor and avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with resp ...
, and artworks made of rocks, ink stamps, outdated travel tickets, undoable puzzles and a machine to facilitate humming. Maciunas' belief in the collective extended to authorship; a number of pieces from this period were anonymous, mis-attributed, or have had their authorship since questioned. As a further complication, Maciunas was in the habit of dramatically changing ideas submitted by various artists before he put the works into production. ''Solid Plastic in Plastic Box'', credited to
Per Kirkeby Per Kirkeby (1 September 1938 – 9 May 2018) was a Danish painter, poet, film maker and sculptor. Biography By the time Kirkeby completed a masters degree in arctic geology at the University of Copenhagen in 1964, he was already part of the i ...
1967, for instance, had originally been realised by Kirkeby as a metal box, inscribed 'This Box Contains Wood'. When opened, the box would be found to contain sawdust. By the time the multiple had been manufactured by Maciunas, it was a block of solid plastic contained in a plastic box of the same color. Conversely, Maciunas assigned ''Degree Face Clock'', in which a clock face is measured out in 360°, to Kirkeby despite being an idea by
Robert Watts Robert Watts (born 23 May 1938)Adam Pirani, ''Robert Watts: Secrets of "The Temple of Doom"'', Starlog #94, April 1985, pp 23–26,62. is a British film producer who is best known for his involvement with the ''Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is a ...
;
Some years ago, when I spoke with Robert Watts about ''Degree Face Clock'' and ''Compass Face Clock'', he had recalled thinking up the idea himself and was surprised that George Maciunas advertised them as Per Kirkeby's. Watts shrugged and said that was the way George worked. There would be ideas in the air and Maciunas would assign the piece to one artist or another.
Other tactics from this time included Maciunas buying large amounts of plastic boxes wholesale, and handing them out to artists with the simple request to turn them into Fluxkits, and the use of the rapidly growing international network of artists to contribute items needed to complete works. Robert Watts' ''Fluxatlas'', 1973, for instance, contains small rocks sent by members of the group from around the world. In addition to his numerous original compositions which have joined the collective's catalog of works, Larry Miller, associated with the group since 1969, has also been active as an interpreter of the "classic" scores and responsible for bringing the group's works to a wider public, blurring the lines between artist, producer and researcher. Besides Miller's own artistic work, he has also organized, reconstructed and performed at numerous Fluxus events and assembled an extensive collection of material on the history of Fluxus. Through Miller, Fluxus attracted media coverage such as the worldwide CNN coverage of ''Off Limits'' exhibit at Newark Museum, 1999. Other Miller activities as organizer, performer and presenter within the Fluxus milieu include ''Performance in Fluxus Continue 1963–2003'' at Musee d'Art et d'Art Contemporain in Nice; ''Fluxus a la Carte'' in Amsterdam; and ''Centraal Fluxus Festival'' at Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Netherlands. In 2004, for Geoff Hendricks' ''Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University 1958–1972'', Miller reprised and updated the track and field events of the Flux Olympics, first presented in 1970. For ''Do-it Yourself Fluxus'' at AI – Art Interactive – in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Miller worked as the curatorial consultant for an exhibit of works that allowed viewers hands-on experience including the reconstruction of several sections of the historic ''Flux Labyrinth'', a massive and intricate maze that Miller originally constructed with George Maciunas at Akademie Der Kunst, Berlin in 1976 and which included sections by several of the Fluxus artists. Miller created a new version of the ''Flux Labyrinth'' at the ''In the Spirit of Fluxus'' exhibit at the Walker Art Center in 1994, where Griel Marcus said, "Miller was... fine tuning the monster."


Feminism

Fluxus women artists were founding members and contributed works in varying media and with differing content. Some made experimental and performative work having to do with the female body that created a powerful female presence, which existed within Fluxus from the group's beginning. This is illustrated by works such as Carolee Schneemann's "Interior Scroll", Yoko Ono's "
Cut Piece Yoko Ono Lennon ( ; ja, 小野 洋子, Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana is a Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat ...
", and
Shigeko Kubota (2 August 1937 – 23 July 2015) was a Japanese video artist, sculptor and avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with resp ...
's "Vagina Painting". Women working within Fluxus were often simultaneously critiquing their position within a male dominated society while also exposing the inequalities within an art collective that claimed to be open and diverse. George Maciunas, in his rejection of Schneeman as a member of Fluxus, called her "guilty of Baroque tendencies, overt sexuality, and theatrical excess". "Interior Scroll" was a response to Schneemann's experience as a filmmaker in the 1950s and 1960s, when male filmmakers claimed that women should restrict themselves to dance. In ''An evening with Fluxus women: a roundtable discussion,'' hosted at New York University (19 February 2009, 7:00–8:30 p.m.) by Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory and the Department of Performance Studies, a passage from Mieko Shiomi reads "...the best thing about Fluxus, I think, is that there was no discrimination on the basis of nationality and gender. Fluxus was open to anyone who shared similar thoughts about art and life. That's why women artists could be so active without feeling any frustration." Shigeo Kubota's ''Vagina Painting'' (1965), was performed by attaching a paintbrush dipped in red paint to her underwear, then applying it to a piece of paper while moving over it in a crouching position. The paint evoked menstrual blood. ''Vagina Painting'' has been interpreted as a critique of
Jackson Pollock Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New Y ...

Jackson Pollock
's action paintings, and the male-dominated
abstract expressionist Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, yea ...
tradition.


Utopian communities

A number of artists in the group were interested in setting up Flux communes, intending to 'bridge the gap between the artist community and the surrounding society' The first of these, La Cédille qui Sourit or ''The
Cedilla A cedilla ( ; from Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (di ...

Cedilla
That Smiles'', was set up in
Villefranche-sur-Mer Villefranche-sur-Mer (, ; oc, Vilafranca de Mar ; it, Villafranca Marittima ) is a commune An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social cohes ...

Villefranche-sur-Mer
, France, by
Robert Filliou Robert Filliou (17 January 1926 – 2 December 1987) was a French artist associated with Fluxus, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro. Life In 1943, Filliou became a member of the French Communist ...
and George Brecht, 1965–1968. Intended as an 'International Centre of Permanent Creation', the shop sold Fluxkits and other small wares as well as housing a 'non-school', boasting the motto "A carefree exchange of information and experience. No students, no teachers. Perfect licence, at times to listen at times to talk." In 1966, Maciunas, Watts and others took advantage of new legislation drafted to regenerate the area of Manhattan known as 'Hell's Hundred Acres', soon to become rebranded as
SoHo Soho is an area of the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London which forms a core part of Central London. It is the site of the United Kingdom's ...

SoHo
, allowing artists to buy live/work spaces in an area that had been blighted due to a proposed 18-lane expressway along
Broome Street Broome Street is an east–west street in Lower Manhattan. It runs nearly the full width of Manhattan island, from Hudson Street (Manhattan), Hudson Street in the west to Lewis Street in the east, near the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge. The ...
. Led by Maciunas, plans were laid to start a series of real-estate developments in the area, designed to create an artists' community within a few streets of the FluxShop on Canal Street.
'Maciunas wanted to establish collective workshops, food-buying cooperatives and theaters to link the strengths of various media together and bridge the gap between the artist community and the surrounding society'
The first warehouse, intended to house Maciunas, Watts, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Jonas Mekas, La Monte Young and others, was located on Greene Street. Likening these communities to the soviet
Kolkhoz A kolkhoz ( rus, колхо́з, a=ru-kolkhoz.ogg, p=kɐlˈxos) was a form of collective farm in the Soviet Union. Kolkhozes existed along with state farms or sovkhoz., a syllabic abbreviation, contraction of советское хозяйств ...
s, Maciunas didn't hesitate to adopt the title 'Chairman of Bldg. Co-Op' without first registering an office or becoming a member of the New York State Association of Realtors. FluxHousing Co-Operatives continued to redevelop the area over the next decade, and were widened to include plans to set up a ''FluxIsland''- a suitable island was located near Antigua, but the money to buy and develop it remained unforthcoming- and finally a performance arts centre called the ''FluxFarm'' established in New Marlborough, Massachusetts. The plans were continually dogged by financial problems, constant run-ins with the New York authorities, and eventually resulted, on 8 November 1975, in Maciunas being severely beaten by thugs sent by an unpaid electrical contractor.


End

It is arguably said that Fluxus came to an end when its founder and leader George Maciunas died in 1978 from complications due to pancreatic cancer. Maciunas' funeral was held in typical Fluxus style where they dubbed the funeral "Fluxfeast and Wake", ate foods that were only black, white, or purple. Maciunas left behind his thoughts on Fluxus in a series of important video conversations called ''Interview With George Maciunas'' with Fluxus artist Larry Miller, which has been screened internationally and translated into numerous languages. Over the past 30 years, Miller has shot and collected Fluxus related materials including tapes on Joe Jones, Carolee Schneemann, Ben Vautier, Dick Higgins, and Alison Knowles, in addition to the 1978 Maciunas interview.


Since 1978

Maciunas moved to the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts in the late 1970s. Two decades earlier, after collecting paintings, the Boston art collector Jean Brown, and her late husband Leonard Brown, began to shift their focus to Dadaist and Surrealist art, manifestoes and periodicals. In 1971, after Mr. Brown's death, Mrs. Brown moved to
Tyringham Tyringham (/ˈtiːrɪŋəm/) is a village in the Milton Keynes (borough), Borough of Milton Keynes and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Buckinghamshire, England. It is located about a mile and a half north of Newport Pagnell. ...
, and expanded into areas adjacent to Fluxus, including artists' books, concrete poetry, happenings, mail art and performance art. Maciunas helped turn her home, originally a Shaker seed house, into an important center for both Fluxus artists and scholars, with Mrs. Brown alternately cooking meals and showing guests her collection. Activities centered on a large archive room on the second floor built by Maciunas, who settled in nearby , where it was discovered that Maciunas developed cancer of the pancreas and liver in 1977. Three months before his death, he married his friend and companion, the poet Billie Hutching. After a legal wedding in Lee, Massachusetts, the couple performed a "Fluxwedding" in a friend's loft in SoHo, 25 February 1978. The bride and groom traded clothing. Maciunas died on 9 May 1978 in a hospital in Boston. After the death of George Maciunas a rift opened in Fluxus between a few collectors and curators who placed Fluxus as an art movement in a specific time frame (1962 to 1978), and the artists themselves, many of whom continued to see Fluxus as a living entity held together by its core values and world view. Different theorists and historians adopted each of these views. Fluxus is therefore referred to variously in the past or the present tense. While the definition of Fluxus was always a subject of controversy, the question is now significantly more complex due to the fact that many of the original artists who were still living when Maciunas died are now dead themselves. Some have argued that the unique control that curator Jon Hendricks holds over a major historical Fluxus collection (the Gilbert and Lila Silverman collection) has enabled him to influence, through the numerous books and catalogues subsidized by the collection, the view that Fluxus died with Maciunas. Hendricks argues that Fluxus was a historical movement that occurred at a particular time, asserting that such central Fluxus artists as Dick Higgins and Nam June Paik could no longer label themselves as active Fluxus artists after 1978, and that contemporary artists influenced by Fluxus cannot lay claim to be Fluxus artists. The
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art ...
makes the same claim dating the movement to the 1960s and 1970s. However, the influence of Fluxus continues today in
multi-media Multimedia is a form of communication that combines different content format, content forms such as text, audio, images, animations, or video into a single presentation, in contrast to traditional mass media, such as printed material or audio re ...
digital art Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Since the 1960s, various names have been used to describe the process, including computer art Computer art is any art ...
performances. In September, 2011 Other Minds presented a performance at the SOMArts building in San Francisco to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fluxus. The performance was curated by Adam Fong who was also one of the performers along with Yoshi Wada,
Alison Knowles Alison Knowles (born 1933) is an American visual artist known for her installations, performances, soundworks, and publications. Knowles was a founding member of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, ...

Alison Knowles
,
Hannah Higgins Hannah B. Higgins (born 1964) is an American writer A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, shor ...

Hannah Higgins
, Luciano Chessa and Adam Overton. Others, including
Hannah Higgins Hannah B. Higgins (born 1964) is an American writer A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, shor ...

Hannah Higgins
, daughter of fluxus artists
Alison Knowles Alison Knowles (born 1933) is an American visual artist known for her installations, performances, soundworks, and publications. Knowles was a founding member of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, ...

Alison Knowles
and
Dick Higgins Dick Higgins (1938–1998) was an American artist, composer, art theorist, poet, publisher, printmaker, and a co-founder of the Fluxus international artistic movement (and community). Inspired by John Cage, Higgins was an early pioneer of electroni ...
, assert that although Maciunas was a key participant, there were many more, including Fluxus co-founder Higgins, who continued to work within Fluxus after the death of Maciunas. The rise of the Internet in the 1990s enabled a vibrant post-Fluxus community to emerge online. After some of the original Fluxus artists from the 1960s and 1970s including Higgins, created online communities such as the Fluxlist, following their departure, younger artists, writers, musicians, and performers have attempted to continue their work in
cyberspace Cyberspace is a concept describing a widespread interconnected digital technology. "The expression dates back from the first decade of the diffusion of the internet. It refers to the online world as a world 'apart', as distinct from everyday rea ...
. Many of the original Fluxus artists still working enjoy homages by younger Fluxus-influenced artists who stage events to commemorate Fluxus, but discourage the use of the "Fluxus" label by younger artists. In 2018 the
Los Angeles Philharmonic The Los Angeles Philharmonic, commonly referred to as the LA Phil, is an American orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradit ...
in its ''Fluxus Festival'' presented a fluxus performance incorporating John Cage's "Europeras 1 and 2" directed by
Yuval SharonYuval Sharon is an American opera and theater director from Naperville, Illinois, based in Los Angeles. In 2017, he won the MacArthur Genius Grant. Early life and education Sharon was born in 1979 in Chicago to two Israeli parents. He earned a B.A. ...
. Fluxus artists continue to perform today on a smaller scale.


Influences

An immediate predecessor of Fluxus, according to Maciunas, was the Gutai group which promoted art as an anti-academic, psychophysical experience, an "art of matter as it is" as explained by Shiraga Kazuo in 1956. Gutai became connected with a sort of artistic mass-production, anticipating Fluxus's trademark, i.e., ambiguity between the cultivated and the trivial, between high and low. Indeed, avant-garde art in Japan tended toward informal rather than conceptual elements, radically opposing the extreme formality and symbolism found in Japanese art. In the 1950s New York music scene there could be discerned many issues related to the post-war disenchantment experienced by many throughout the developed world. Such disillusionment in itself presented a case for commitment to Buddhism and Zen in everyday matters such as mental attitude, meditation, and approach to food and body care. It was also felt, however, that there was a general need for a more radical artistic sensibility. The themes of decay and of the inadequacy of the idea of modernity in artistic fields were adopted, partly from Duchamp and Dada and partly from consciousness of the uneasiness of living in contemporary society. It is said that Fluxus challenged notions of representation, offering instead simple presentation. This, in fact, corresponds to a major difference between Western and Japanese art. Another important Fluxus characteristic was the elimination of perceived boundaries between art and life, a very prominent trend in post war art. This was exemplified by the work and writings of Josheph Bueys who stated, "every man is an artist." Fluxus's approach was an everyday, "economic" one as seen in the production of small objects made of paper and plastic. Again, this strongly corresponds with some of the fundamental characteristics of Japanese culture, i.e., the high artistic value of everyday acts and objects and the aesthetic appreciation of frugality. This also links with Japanese art, and the concept of shibumi, which may involve incompleteness, and supports the appreciation of bare objects, emphasizing subtlety rather than overtness. The renowned Japanese aesthetics scholar Onishi Yoshinori called the essence of Japanese art pantonomic because of the consciousness of no distinction between nature, art and life. Art is the way to approach life and nature/reality corresponding to actual existence.


Fluxus art

Fluxus encouraged a "do-it-yourself" aesthetic, and valued simplicity over complexity. Like
Dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (Zurich), Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 ...

Dada
before it, Fluxus included a strong current of anti-commercialism and an
anti-art Anti-art is a loosely used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point o ...
sensibility, disparaging the conventional market-driven art world in favor of an artist-centered creative practice. As Fluxus artist
Robert Filliou Robert Filliou (17 January 1926 – 2 December 1987) was a French artist associated with Fluxus, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro. Life In 1943, Filliou became a member of the French Communist ...
wrote, however, Fluxus differed from Dada in its richer set of aspirations, and the positive social and communitarian aspirations of Fluxus far outweighed the anti-art tendency that also marked the group. Among its early associates were
Joseph Beuys Joseph Heinrich Beuys ( , ; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech an ...
,
Dick Higgins Dick Higgins (1938–1998) was an American artist, composer, art theorist, poet, publisher, printmaker, and a co-founder of the Fluxus international artistic movement (and community). Inspired by John Cage, Higgins was an early pioneer of electroni ...
, Davi Det Hompson,
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
,
Wolf Vostell Wolf Vostell (14 October 1932 – 3 April 1998) was a German painter and sculptor, considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-sp ...

Wolf Vostell
,
La Monte Young La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer, musician, and artist recognized as one of the first American minimalist In visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, s ...
,
Joseph Byrd Joseph Hunter Byrd, Jr. (born December 19, 1937) is an American composer, musician and academic. After first becoming known as an experimental music, experimental composer in New York City and Los Angeles in the early and mid-1960s, he became the ...
,
Al Hansen Alfred Earl "Al" Hansen (5 October 1927 – 22 June 1995) was an American artist. He was a member of Fluxus, a movement that originated on an artists' collective around George Maciunas. He was the father of Andy Warhol protégé Bibbe Hansen and ...
and Yoko Ono who explored media ranging from performance art to poetry to experimental music to film. Taking the stance of opposition to the ideas of tradition and professionalism in the arts of their time, the Fluxus group shifted the emphasis from what an artist makes to the artist's personality, actions, and opinions. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s (their most active period) they staged "action" events, engaged in politics and public speaking, and produced sculptural works featuring unconventional materials. Their radically untraditional works included, for example, the
video art Video art is an art form which relies on using video technology as a visual and audio medium. Video art emerged during the late 1960s as new consumer video technology such as video tape recorders became available outside corporate broadcasting. ...
of Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman and the performance art of Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell. During the early years of Fluxus, the often playful style of the Fluxus artists resulted in them being considered by some to be little more than a group of pranksters. Fluxus has also been compared to
Dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (Zurich), Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 ...

Dada
and aspects of Pop Art and is seen as the starting point of
mail art Mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the mail, postal service. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence ...
and no wave artists. Artists from succeeding generations such as Mark Bloch do not try to characterize themselves as Fluxus but create spinoffs such as Fluxpan or Jung Fluxus as a way of continuing some of the Fluxus ideas in a 21st-century, post-
mail art Mail art, also known as postal art and correspondence art, is an artistic movement centered on sending small-scale works through the mail, postal service. It initially developed out of what eventually became Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence ...
context. In terms of an artistic approach, Fluxus artists preferred to work with whatever materials were at hand, and either created their own work or collaborated in the creation process with their colleagues. Outsourcing part of the creative process to commercial fabricators was not usually part of Fluxus practice. Maciunas personally hand-assembled many of the Fluxus multiples and editions. While Maciunas assembled many objects by hand, he designed and intended them for mass production.Maciunas on Fluxus
Retrieved 5 September 2010
Where multiple publishers produced signed, numbered objects in limited editions intended for sale at high prices, Maciunas produced open editions at low prices. Several other Fluxus publishers produced different kinds of Fluxus editions. The best known of these was the
Something Else PressSomething Else Press was founded by Dick Higgins in 1963. It published many important Intermedia texts and artworks by such Fluxus artists as Higgins, Ray Johnson, Alison Knowles, Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, Daniel Spoerri, Robert Filliou, Al Hanse ...
, established by Dick Higgins, probably the largest and most extensive Fluxus publisher, producing books in editions that ran from 1,500 copies to as many as 5,000 copies, all available at standard bookstore prices. Higgins created the term "
intermedia Intermedia was a term used in the mid-1960s by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins to describe various inter-disciplinary art activities that occurred between genres in the 1960s. It was also used by John Brockman to refer to works in expanded cinema tha ...

intermedia
" in a 1966 essay. The art forms most closely associated with Fluxus are event scores and Fluxus boxes. Fluxus boxes (sometimes called Fluxkits or Fluxboxes) originated with George Maciunas who would gather collections of printed cards, games, and ideas, organizing them in small plastic or wooden boxes.


Event score

An event score, such as
George Brecht George Brecht (August 27, 1926 – December 5, 2008), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American Conceptual Art, conceptual artist and avant-garde composer, as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfi ...
's "Drip Music", is essentially a
performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be witnessed live or through documentation, spontaneously developed or written, and is traditionally presented to a pu ...
script that is usually only a few lines long and consists of descriptions of actions to be performed rather than dialogue. Fluxus artists differentiate event scores from "happenings". Whereas happenings were sometimes complicated, lengthy performances meant to blur the lines between performer and audience, performance and reality, event performances were usually brief and simple. The event performances sought to elevate the banal, to be mindful of the mundane, and to frustrate the high culture of academic and market-driven music and art. The idea of the event began in Henry Cowell's philosophy of music. Cowell, a teacher to John Cage and later to Dick Higgins, coined the term that Higgins and others later applied to short, terse descriptions of performable work. The term "score" is used in exactly the sense that one uses the term to describe a music score: a series of notes that allow anyone to perform the work, an idea linked both to what
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
labeled the "do it yourself" approach and to what
Ken FriedmanKen Friedman, (born September 19, 1949 in New London, Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of hu ...
termed "musicality." While much is made of the do it yourself approach to art, it is vital to recognize that this idea emerges in music, and such important Fluxus artists as Paik, Higgins, or Corner began as composers, bringing to art the idea that each person can create the work by "doing it." This is what Friedman meant by musicality, extending the idea more radically to conclude that anyone can create work of any kind from a score, acknowledging the composer as the originator of the work while realizing the work freely and even interpreting it in far different ways from those the original composer might have done. Other creative forms that have been adopted by Fluxus practitioners include collage, sound art, music, video, and poetry—especially visual poetry and
concrete poetry Concrete poetry is an arrangement of linguistic elements in which the typographical effect is more important in conveying meaning than verbal significance. It is sometimes referred to as visual poetry Literary theorists have identified visual p ...
.


Use of shock

Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
and his peers in the Fluxus art movement thoroughly understood the impact and importance of shock on the viewer. Fluxus artists believed that shock not only makes the viewer question their own reasoning, but is a means to awaken the viewer, "...from a perceptive lethargy furthered by habit." Paik himself described the shock factor in his Fluxus work: "People who come to my concerts or see my objects need to be transferred into another state of consciousness. They have to be high. And in order to put them into this state of highness, a little shock is required... Anyone who came to my exhibition saw the head and was high." Paik's "head" was that of a real cow displayed at the entrance to his exhibition, Exposition of Music—Electronic Television, located in the Galerie Parnass, Wuppertal, Germany in 1963.


Artistic philosophies

Fluxus is similar in spirit to the earlier art movement of
Dada Dada () or Dadaism was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centres in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (Zurich), Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). New York Dada began c. 1915, and after 1920 ...

Dada
, emphasizing the concept of
anti-art Anti-art is a loosely used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general. Somewhat paradoxically, anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point o ...
and taking jabs at the seriousness of modern art.Rush 2005, p. 24. Fluxus artists used their minimal performances to highlight their perceived connections between everyday objects and art, similarly to Duchamp in pieces such as ''
Fountain A fountain, from the "fons" ( "fontis"), meaning source or , is a decorative reservoir for discharging into a basin to supply . It is also a structure that jets water into the air for a decorative or dramatic effect. Fountains were original ...
''. Fluxus art was often presented in "events", which Fluxus member
George Brecht George Brecht (August 27, 1926 – December 5, 2008), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American Conceptual Art, conceptual artist and avant-garde composer, as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfi ...
defined as "the smallest unit of a situation." The events consisted of a minimal instruction, opening the events to accidents and other unintended effects.Rush 2005, p. 25 Also contributing to the randomness of events was the integration of audience members into the performances, realizing Duchamp's notion of the viewer completing the art work. The Fluxus artistic philosophy has been defined as a synthesis of four key factors that define the majority of Fluxus work: # Fluxus is an attitude. It is not a movement or a style.Smith 1998,. # Fluxus is intermedia.Higgins 1966, Fluxus creators like to see what happens when different media intersect. They use found and everyday objects, sounds, images, and texts to create new combinations of objects, sounds, images, and texts. # Fluxus works are simple. The art is small, the texts are short, and the performances are brief. # Fluxus is fun. Humor has always been an important element in Fluxus.


Late criticism

There is a complexity in adequately charting a unified history of Fluxus. In ''Fluxus: A brief History and Other Fictions'', Owen Smith concedes that, with the emergence of new material published about Fluxus and its expansion into the present, its history must remain open.O'neill, Rosemary. ''In the Spirit of Fluxus''. Art Journal 53.1 (1994): 90–93. Web. The resistance to being pigeonholed, and with the absence of a stable identity, Fluxus opened up to wide participation but also, from what would appear in history, closed off that possibility. Maciunas made frequent acts of excommunication between 1962 and 1978 which destabilized the collective. Kristine Stiles argues in one of her essays that the essence of Fluxus is "performative", while recently she feels that essence has been "eroded or threatened". Fluxus instead moved towards favoring the objects of publication, Stiles asserts: "Care must be taken that Fluxus is not transformed historically from a radical process and presentational art into a tradition static and representational art." With no leadership, no identifiable guidelines, no real collective strategy, no homogeneity in terms of practices, Fluxus cannot be handled through traditional critical tools. Fluxus is an indicator of this confusion. Fluxus therefore is nearly always a discourse on the failure of discourse.


Fluxus artists

Fluxus artists shared several characteristics including wit and "childlikeness", though they lacked a consistent identity as an artistic community. This vague self-identification allowed the group to include a variety of artists, including a large number of women. The possibility that Fluxus had more female members than any Western art group up to that point in history is particularly significant because Fluxus came on the heels of the white male-dominated abstract expressionism movement. However, despite the designed open-endedness of Fluxus, Maciunas insisted on maintaining unity in the collective. Because of this, Maciunas was accused of expelling certain members for deviating from what he perceived as the goals of Fluxus. Many artists, writers, and composers have been associated with Fluxus over the years, including: *Eric Andersen (artist), Eric Andersen (born 1940) *John Armleder (born 1948) *
Ay-O Takao Iijima (born May 19, 1931), better known by his art name Ay-O, (靉嘔 ''Ai Ō'') is a Japanese artist who has been associated with Fluxus since its international beginnings in the 1960s. Biography From Democrato to Fluxus Ay-O started hi ...

Ay-O
(born 1931) *
Joseph Beuys Joseph Heinrich Beuys ( , ; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech an ...
(1921–1986) *Bazon Brock (born 1936) *
Joseph Byrd Joseph Hunter Byrd, Jr. (born December 19, 1937) is an American composer, musician and academic. After first becoming known as an experimental music, experimental composer in New York City and Los Angeles in the early and mid-1960s, he became the ...
(born 1937) *
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
(1912–1992) *
George Brecht George Brecht (August 27, 1926 – December 5, 2008), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American Conceptual Art, conceptual artist and avant-garde composer, as well as a professional chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfi ...
(1926–2008) *Giuseppe Chiari (artist-composer-philosopher), Giuseppe Chiari (1926–2007) *Henning Christiansen (1932–2008) *
Philip Corner Philip Lionel Corner (born April 10, 1933; name sometimes given as Phil Corner) is an American composer, trombonist The trombone is a musical instrument in the Brass instrument, brass family. As with all brass instruments, sound is produced whe ...
(born 1933) *Jean Dupuy (artist), Jean Dupuy (1925–2021) *Öyvind Fahlström (1928–1976) *
Robert Filliou Robert Filliou (17 January 1926 – 2 December 1987) was a French artist associated with Fluxus, who produced works as a filmmaker, "action poet," sculptor, and happenings maestro. Life In 1943, Filliou became a member of the French Communist ...
(1926–1987) *Simone Forti (born 1935) *
Henry Flynt Henry Flynt (born 1940 in Greensboro, North Carolina) is an American philosopher, musician, writer, activist, and artist connected to the 1960s New York avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard ...

Henry Flynt
(born 1940) *
Ken FriedmanKen Friedman, (born September 19, 1949 in New London, Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of hu ...
(born 1949) *
Al Hansen Alfred Earl "Al" Hansen (5 October 1927 – 22 June 1995) was an American artist. He was a member of Fluxus, a movement that originated on an artists' collective around George Maciunas. He was the father of Andy Warhol protégé Bibbe Hansen and ...
(1927–1995) *
Geoffrey HendricksGeoffrey Hendricks (July 30, 1931 in Littleton, New Hampshire – May 12, 2018) was an American artist associated with Fluxus since the mid 1960s. He was professor emeritus of art at Rutgers University, where he taught from 1956 to 2003 and was assoc ...
(1931–2018) *Nye Ffarrabas, Bici Hendricks (born 1932) *
Dick Higgins Dick Higgins (1938–1998) was an American artist, composer, art theorist, poet, publisher, printmaker, and a co-founder of the Fluxus international artistic movement (and community). Inspired by John Cage, Higgins was an early pioneer of electroni ...
(1938–1998) *Davi Det Hompson (1939–1996) *Alice Hutchins (1916–2009) *Toshi Ichiyanagi (born 1933) *Terry Jennings (1940–1981) *
Ray Johnson Raymond Edward "Ray" Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995) was an American artist. Known primarily as a collagist and correspondence artist, he was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art and was described as
(1927–1995) * Joe Jones (1934–1993) *
Allan Kaprow Allan Kaprow (August 23, 1927 – April 5, 2006) was an American painter, Assemblage (art), assemblagist and a pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art. He helped to develop the "Installation art, Environment" and "Happening" in the ...

Allan Kaprow
(1927–2006) *
Bengt af Klintberg Bengt af Klintberg (Bengt Knut Erik af Klintberg) (b. 25 December 1938 in Stockholm) is a Sweden, Swedish folklorist, ethnologist, and artist who is known for his work on modern urban legends. His work reached a large audience with such books as ''R ...
(born 1938) *Milan Knížák (born 1940) *
Alison Knowles Alison Knowles (born 1933) is an American visual artist known for her installations, performances, soundworks, and publications. Knowles was a founding member of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, ...

Alison Knowles
(born 1933) *Arthur Köpcke(1928–1977) *
Takehisa Kosugi was a Japanese composer, violinist and artist associated with the Fluxus movement. Biography Kosugi studied musicology at the Tokyo University of the Arts and graduated in 1962. He first became drawn to music listening to his father play harmo ...
(1938–2018) *Philip Krumm (born 1941) *
Shigeko Kubota (2 August 1937 – 23 July 2015) was a Japanese video artist, sculptor and avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or ' vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with resp ...
(1937–2015) *George Landow (filmmaker), George Landow (1944–2011) *Vytautas Landsbergis (born 1932) *
Jackson Mac LowImage:Gloria Graham Jackson Mac Low.jpg, 250px, Jackson Mac Low, photographed by Gloria Graham during the video taping of Add-Verse, 2003 Jackson Mac Low (September 12, 1922 – December 8, 2004) was an American poet, performance artist, composer ...
(1922–2004) *Richard Maxfield (1927–1969) *
George Maciunas George Maciunas (; lt, Jurgis Mačiūnas; November 8, 1931 – May 9, 1978) was a Lithuanian American artist, born in Kaunas Kaunas (; ; also see other names) is the second-largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (198 ...
(1931–1978) *
Jonas Mekas Jonas Mekas (; December 24, 1922 – January 23, 2019) was a Lithuanian-American Lithuanian Americans refers to American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as ...

Jonas Mekas
(1922–2019) *Gustav Metzger (1926–2017) * Larry Miller (born 1944) *Kate Millett (1934–2017) * Charlotte Moorman (1933–1991) *Maurizio Nannucci (born 1939) *Louise Odes Neaderland (born 1932) *
Yoko Ono Yoko Ono ( ; ja, 小野 洋子, Ono Yōko, usually spelled in katakana is a Japanese syllabary, one component of the Japanese writing system along with hiragana, kanji and in some cases the Latin script (known as rōmaji). The word ''kat ...
(born 1933) *Robin Page (1932–2015) *
Nam June Paik Nam June Paik (; July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a Korean American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the founder of video art. He is credited with the first use (1974) of the term "electronic super hig ...
(1932–2006) *
Ben Patterson Benjamin Patterson (May 29, 1934 – June 25, 2016) was an American musician, artist, and one of the founders of the Fluxus Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s a ...
(1934–2016) *
Terry Riley Terrence Mitchell Riley (born June 24, 1935), is an American composer and performing musician best known as a pioneer of the minimalist In visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture ...

Terry Riley
(born 1935) *Dieter Roth (1930–1998) * Takako Saito (born 1929) *Wim T. Schippers (born 1942) *Tomas Schmit (1943–2006) *Carolee Schneemann (1939–2019) * Mieko Shiomi (born 1938) *
Daniel Spoerri Daniel Spoerri (born 27 March 1930) is a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland *Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, Wisconsin Other uses *Swiss-system tournament, in v ...
(born 1930) *James Tenney (1934–2006) *Yasunao Tone (born 1935) *
Ben Vautier Ben Vautier (born July 18, 1935 in Naples, Italy), also known simply as Ben, is a France, French artist. Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called ''Magazin'' between 1958 and 1973. He discovered Yves Klein and the Nouvea ...
(born 1935) *
Wolf Vostell Wolf Vostell (14 October 1932 – 3 April 1998) was a German painter and sculptor, considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art Installation art is an artistic genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-sp ...

Wolf Vostell
(1932–1998) * Yoshi Wada (1943–2021) *
Robert Watts Robert Watts (born 23 May 1938)Adam Pirani, ''Robert Watts: Secrets of "The Temple of Doom"'', Starlog #94, April 1985, pp 23–26,62. is a British film producer who is best known for his involvement with the ''Star Wars ''Star Wars'' is a ...
(1923–1988) *Chuck Welch (born 1948) *
Emmett Williams Emmett Williams (4 April 1925 – 14 February 2007) was an American poet A poet is a person who creates poetry. Poets may describe themselves as such or be described as such by others. A poet may simply be a writer of poetry, or may perfo ...
(1925–2007) *
La Monte Young La Monte Thornton Young (born October 14, 1935) is an American composer, musician, and artist recognized as one of the first American minimalist In visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, s ...
(born 1935)


Scholars, critics, and curators associated with Fluxus

*Simon Anderson (born 1954) *Jacquelynn Baas (born 1948) *Jean Brown (1911–1994) *Peter Frank (art critic), Peter Frank (born 1950) *
Ken FriedmanKen Friedman, (born September 19, 1949 in New London, Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, second-highest level of hu ...
(born 1949) *John Held Jr. (mailartist) (born 1947) *
Hannah Higgins Hannah B. Higgins (born 1964) is an American writer A writer is a person who uses written words in different styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce different forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, shor ...

Hannah Higgins
(born 1964) *Judith Hoffberg (1934–2009) *Jill Johnston (1929–2010) *Clive Phillpot (born 1950) *Kristine Stiles (born 1947) *Knud Pedersen (1925–2014)


Major collections and archives

* Alternative Traditions in Contemporary Art, University Library and University of Iowa Museum of Art, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA * Archiv Sohm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany * Archivio Conz, Verona, Italy * Artpool, Budapest, Hungary * Emily Harvey Foundation, New York City, and Venice, Italy * David Mayor/Fluxshoe/Beau Geste Press papers, Tate Gallery Archive, Tate Britain, London, England * Fluxus Collection, Ken Friedman papers, Tate Gallery Archive, Tate Britain, London, England * Fluxus Collection, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA * Fondation du Doute * FONDAZIONE BONOTTO, Molvena, Vicenza, Italy * Franklin Furnace Archive, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City * George Maciunas Memorial Collection, The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA * Gilbert and Lila Silverman, Fluxus Foundation, Detroit, Michigan, and New York City, USA * Museo Vostell Malpartida Cáceres, Spain * Museum Fluxus+ Potsdam, Germany
Jean Brown papers, 1916–1995
finding aid, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles * Sammlung Maria und Walter Schnepel, Bremen, Germany * Institute for the Arts & Science, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA * De Montfort University, Leicester, UK * TVF The Endless Story of FLUXUS, Gent, Belgium * Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, Vilnius, Lithuania * The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Gift from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection, Detroit, to American Friends of the Israel Museum


See also

* Art intervention * Artist's book * Body art * Fluxus at Rutgers University * Gutai group * Ministry of Fluxus * Xerox art


Selected bibliography

* Jürgen Becker, Wolf Vostell, ''Happenings, Fluxus, Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme''. Eine Dokumentation. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 1965. * ''Happening & Fluxus''. Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1970. * Harry Ruhé, ''Fluxus, The most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties''. Verlag A, Amsterdam, 1979. * Baas, Jacquelynn, Friedman, Ken ''Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life''. Chicago and Hanover, NH: University of Chicago Press and Hood Museum of Art, 2011. . * Bernstein, Roslyn, and Shael Shapiro. ''Illegal Living: 80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo'' (Jonas Mekas Foundation), www.illegalliving.com , September 2010. * Block, René, ed. ''1962 Wiesbaden Fluxus 1982''. Wiesbaden: Harlekin Art, Museum Wiesbaden, and Nassauischer Kunstverein, 1982. * Clay, Steve, and Ken Friedman, eds. ''Intermedia, Fluxus and the Something Else Press: Selected Writings by Dick Higgins''. Catskill: NY: Siglio Press, 2018. . * ''Der Traum von Fluxus. George Maciunas: Eine Künstlerbiographie''. Thomas Kellein, Walther König, 2007. . * Fluxus und Freunde: Sammlung Maria und Walter Schnepel, Katalog zur Ausstellung Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen; Fondazione Morra, Napoli; Kunst Museum Bonn 2002. * Friedman, Ken, ed
''The Fluxus Reader''
Chicester, West Sussex and New York: Academy Editions, 1998. * Gray, John. ''Action Art. A Bibliography of Artists’ Performance from Futurism to Fluxus and Beyond''. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993. * Haskell, Barbara. ''BLAM! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958–1964''. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1984. * Hansen, Al, and Beck Hansen. ''Playing with Matches''. RAM USA, 1998. * Hapgood, Susan, and Cornelia Lauf. ''FluxAttitudes''. Ghent: Imschoot Uitgevers, 1991. * Held, John Jr. ''Mail Art: an Annotated Bibliography''. Metuchen, New Jersey and London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1991. * Held, John Jr. ''Where the Secret is Hidden: Collected Essays'' Breda: TAM-Publications Netherlands, 2011. * Hendricks, Geoffrey, ed. ''Critical Mass, Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University 1958–1972''. Mason Gross Art Galleries, Rutgers, and Mead Art Gallery, Amherst, 2003. * Hendricks, Jon, ed. ''Fluxus, etc.: The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection''. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: Cranbrook Museum of Art, 1982. * Higgins, Hannah. ''Fluxus Experience''. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. * Janssen, Ruud. ''Mail-Interviews Part 1 Interviews with Mail-Art and Fluxus Artists''. Breda: TAM-Publications, Netherlands 2008. * Thomas Kellein, Kellein, Thomas. ''Fluxus''. London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 1995. * Milman, Estera, ed. ''Fluxus: A Conceptual Country'', ''Visible Language'' [Special Issue], Vol. 26, Nos. 1/2, Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 1992. * ''Fluxus y Di Maggio''. Museo Vostell Malpartida, 1998, . * Moren, Lisa. ''Intermedia''. Baltimore, Maryland: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2003. * Paull, Silke, and Hervé Würz, eds. "How We Met or a Microdemystification". ''AQ 16'' [Special Issue], (1977) * Phillpot, Clive, and Jon Hendricks, eds. ''Fluxus: Selections from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection''. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1988. * Saper, Craig J. ''Networked Art''. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. * Schmidt-Burkhardt, Astrit. ''Maciunas’ Learning Machines: From Art History to a Chronology of Fluxus'', with a foreword by Jon Hendricks. Second, revised and enlarged edition, Vienna and New York: Springer, 2011. . * Smith, Owen. ''Fluxus: The History of an Attitude''. San Diego State University Press, San Diego, California, 1998. *''Nie wieder störungsfrei! Aachen Avantgarde seit 1964'', Kerber Verlag, 2011, . * ''Fluxus at 50''. Stefan Fricke, Alexander Klar, Sarah Maske, Kerber Verlag, 2012, . * ''Fluxus! 50 Jahre Fluxus''. Werner Esser, Steffen Engle, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 2012. . * Stegmann, Petra, ed. '' 'The lunatics are on the loose…' European Fluxus festivals 1962–1977''. Down with art! Berlin 2012. . * Stegmann, Petra, ed. ''Fluxus East. Fluxus-Netzwerke in Mittelosteuropa. Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe''. Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin 2007. . * Würz, Fleurice ''Fluxus Nice''. Saarbrücken (Germany): AQ-Verlag, 2011. . * ''Beuys Brock Vostell. Aktion Demonstration Partizipation 1949–1983''. ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Hatje Cantz, Karlsruhe, 2014, .


Notes


Sources

* Armstrong, Elizabeth, and Simon Anderson, eds. ''In The Spirit Of Fluxus.'' Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1993. * Hendricks, Jon. ''Fluxus Codex''. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1989. * Higgins, Dick. 1966. "Intermedia." ''Something Else Newsletter'', vol. 1, no. 1. * Thomas Kellein, Kellein, Thomas, and Jon Hendricks (1995). ''Fluxus''. London: Thames & Hudson. * * * * * * Rush, Michael. 2005. ''New Media in Art''. London: Thames & Hudson. * Smith, Owen. 1998. ''Fluxus: The History of an Attitude''. San Diego: San Diego State University Press * Zanichelli, Elena. Women In Fluxus & Other Experimental Tales: Eventi Partiture Performance.


External links

*Links at Ubuweb:
Samples of Fluxus Audio
on the Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine
''An Anthology of Chance Operations'' (1963)

European Fluxus Festivals 1962–1977John Cage on I've Got A Secret performing ''Water Walk'', January 1960, from the same era as his teaching classes at the New SchoolMOMA online archive of Fluxus 1, Fluxkit and Flux Year Box 2Museum Fluxus+ Potsdam, GermanyMuseo Vostell Malpartida
Cáceres, Spain.
The Copenhagen Fluxus ArchiveDick Higgins collection at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
{{Authority control Fluxus, Contemporary art Conceptual art Avant-garde art Experimental music International artist groups and collectives Neo-Dada