Fluxus Heidelberg Center BLOG

This BLOG is maintained by the FLUXUS HEIDELBERG CENTER. See: WWW.FLUXUSHEIDELBERG.ORG.

This FHC BLOG will contain an overview of all news we find and get in connection to Fluxus. Articles, publications, events, celebrations, Biographies, you name it. Every month the collection of the blog will be published on the FHC website as a digital archive

Thursday, January 29, 2009

guardian.co.uk - Artist of the week 26: George Maciunas

Artist of the week 26: George Maciunas

The founder of avant garde collective Fluxus, Macuinas was best known for insane and inventive ideas that were key to influencing one of the most important art movements of the last century, writes Jessica Lack

Jessica Lack guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 January 2009 14.47 GMT
Article history


George Maciunas performing for self-exposing camera, New York in 1966. Photograph: Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Foundation, Detroit/George Maciunas

George Maciunas was the Lithuanian-born leader of Fluxus, an international avantgarde collective formed in 1960 that only really became respectable after its irascible founder died from cancer in 1978. Maciunas was a charming despot who herded a group of disparate artists into one of the most influential movements of the mid-20th century. His ambition was to create a world free of art, and replace it with Fluxus, a form of creativity so uncomplicated it could be realised anywhere and anyhow. Maciunas said the purpose of the movement was to "promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, promote living art, anti-art".

George Macunias

The Dream of Fluxus

The Baltic, Newcastle

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Starts 25/11/08 Until 15/02/09 Details:
+44 (0)191 478 1810 Venue website

When asked to define exactly what Fluxus was, Maciunas would often respond by playing samples of dogs barking or geese honking, rooting the movement firmly in the absurd tradition that had grown up out of dadaism and surrealism. Fluxus activities ranged from public performances and street theatre, to lo-fi sculptures. Maciunas was anti-ownership and refused to allow any of the Fluxus works to be signed, making it difficult for dealers to value their worth. He was also instrumental in transforming Soho from a run-down, unfashionable district of New York city into an artists colony; when a warehouse shut, Maciunas moved in, using it as an art space for his collegues and friends. Those enticed by the movement included Joseph Beuys, who was drawn to the group because of its inclusive philosophy - echoing as it did, Beuys's own beliefs that everyone was an artist. Yoko Ono was also a member and her bed-in with John Lennon is a classic example of Fluxus performance.


Although Maciunas is possibly best known for a series of staged performances, one of which included systematically destroying a piano, he also made souvenir boxes. These were tailor made for individuals and contained artefacts and information relating to the year of their birth. Sometimes these boxes could be positively macabre. When he made one for fellow Fluxus member George Brecht (who claimed to be born in 1250), Macunias trawled the local hospitals for a human ear to be included as an homage to Genghis Khan, who notoriously counted the victims of his bloody battle in 1250 by cutting off their ears.

Why we like him? Difficult, there are so many insane ideas to choose from. Probably the Flux-Olympiad, in which Maciunas proposed to stage a three-day sports event featuring soccer games on stilts, slow-speed bicycle races and balloon shot put. Although the artist died before the idea could be conceived, Tate Modern staged the event last year.

Spared no expense: In 1964, Maciunas opened a shop on Canal street selling Fluxus multiples for $1, but made no sales in the first year. Ironically, a recent sketch by Beuys went for £20,000.

Red October: His mother, a former Russian dancer, became the private secretary of Russian prime minister Aleksandr Kerenskyafter he emigrated to New York in 1940.

Where can I see him? George Maciunas, The Dream of Fluxus is on at The Baltic, Newcastle until 15 February.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nam June Paik Art Center


TV Candle ,1975(1999) ,Nam June Paik ,Nam June Paik Art Center
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January 27, 2009
Nam June Paik Art CenterNOW JUMP Festival
The Gift of Nam June Paik 1 Seminar
February 4 and 5, 2009

85 Sanggal-dong, Giheung-gu,
Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
446-905
Republic of Korea

http://www.njpartcenter.kr

The Nam June Paik Art Center proudly announces the launch of its lecture and discussions series with The Gift of Nam June Paik 1, a seminar commemorating the closing of its inaugural festival NOW JUMP.

The Gift of Nam June Paik 1 gathers specialists from various fields of research to celebrate Nam June Paik's creativity and expand discussions on his work. As a concluding journey of the NOW JUMP Festival, the seminar ambitions to sketch a landscape where neglected aspects of Paik's practice can be considered and supported. Reactivating and actualizing the nomadic characteristics of Paik's life, the different speakers' presentations and areas of expertise echo the boundless terrain of Paik's work suggesting that being a pioneer of video art was only a single station within a much larger journey. What topics and perspectives can be imagined within contemporary social and political contexts when considering Paik's role from these extended perspectives?

The first two sessions of the seminar are intended to promote shifts in presumptions and activate discourses on Paik that extend beyond established presuppositions. In the morning of February 4, Bazon Brock addresses the socio-political contexts of post war Germany in relation to artistic practice, situating the historical meeting of Paik and television within a larger framework. Midori Yamamura follows these arguments with a presentation on the new ontology that threaded through Japan, the United States and Europe in the period following World War II in relation to Paik and the formative Fluxus movement.

In the afternoon, Kim Suki examines the cultural context of Korea under Japanese colonization during the 1930s and 1940s and Mary Bauermeister offers testimonial of her close relationship with Paik during his stay in Germany. Further enhancing this focus on Paik's early years and the transgressions in his way of thinking that place him in between East and West, Kim Jin Sok's delves into the philosophical frameworks of the communities and societies influential to Paik.

On February 5, the main themes are performativity and the notion of time, and nomadism. Lee Young Chul shares his exhibition-making experience and the dialogue it established with Paik's philosophy for the creation of the NOW JUMP Festival. Hannah Higgins discusses experience and Fluxus, while architect/poet Haam Seong-Ho considers the notion of time and experience in Zen Buddhism.

The concluding session concentrates on nomadism and how Paik continuously jumped from place to place, both geographically and chronologically. The notion of nomadic life is examined through anthropological, socio-political and futurological references by Yi-Jinkyung and Cho Hyun-il. Their presentations aim to imagine the potential social structures, territories, and political terrains Paik's practice may inspire.

Speakers include, Bazon Brock (Professor of Aesthetics and Communication Design at Wupperthal University), Midori Yamamura (Art history PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center), Kim Suki (director of Hyunsil Munwha Publishers and lecturer at the Korea National University of Arts), Mary Bauermeister (artist renowned for hosting avant-garde gatherings in 1960s Cologne), Kim Jin-Sok (Professor of Humanities at Inha University), Lee Young Chul (Director of Nam June Paik Art Center), Hannah Higgins (Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago), Haam Seong-Ho (poet/architect), Yi-Jinkyung (Professor of Humanities at Seoul National University of Technology). Cho Hyun-il (author of 1000).

The Nam June Paik Art Center, supported by Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation and Gyeonggi province.

Nam June Paik Art Center
85 Sanggal-dong, Giheung-gu,
Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
446-905
Republic of Korea
T: + 82 (0) 31 201 8543
F: + 82 (0) 31 201 8515
c.pestana@njpartcenter.kr



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Judith Hoffberg dies at 74; art librarian and curator


Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


Judith Hoffberg, an authority on mail art, which is loosely defined as anything that can be sent through the mail, holds items from a Pasadena exhibition she curated in 1992.

Hoffberg was a major influence in the emergence of books as artworks and established a global edible-book festival.

By Valerie J. Nelson
6:52 PM PST, January 27, 2009


Judith Hoffberg, an art librarian and curator who was a major influence in the emergence of books as an artist's medium yet winked at the genre by establishing a global festival of edible books, has died. She was 74.

Hoffberg, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia four months ago, died of lymphoma Jan. 16 at her Santa Monica home, said Jon Liu, a nephew.


Since 1978, Hoffberg had edited and published Umbrella, a journal increasingly dedicated to artists' books, which are works of art that are realized in book form. She tended to favor books with a "sculptural quality" that embodied their subject with pages that might form, for example, a necklace or a silk snake.

Jay Belloli, director of gallery programs at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, said Hoffberg was "incredibly important in the emergence of artists' books in Southern California" and once ran a bookstore that gave them their primary exposure in Los Angeles.

Like many book artists, Elena Mary Siff considered Hoffberg a mentor and said: "She stretched the idea of what a book is. . . . She was always pushing the envelope."


Over about 20 years, Hoffberg curated more than 20 exhibitions, including "Women of the Book," which opened in 1997 and toured the country for years. The show featured works by Jewish women that often explored family roots. One artist portrayed the Holocaust experience of her parents on papier-mache models of their tattooed arms. Another showcased the thin contents of her deceased parents' safe-deposit box.

Belloli called Hoffberg "kind of an unsung heroine of parts of art that a number of people didn't pay attention to but are historically important and in many cases a . . . lot of fun."

She also was an authority on mail art -- loosely defined as anything that can be sent through the mail -- and Fluxus, an art movement that emerged in the mid-20th century known for blending media and disciplines. Both received coverage in Umbrella, printed through 2005 and then published online through last year.

"The whole field of artist books became my life, and I wanted to share it with all of you," Hoffberg wrote in December in her final editorial for Umbrella. "Although marginal at the beginning, it has grown into a movement, a new chapter in art history."

In 1992, she curated a major exhibit on mail art that was so massive it took 11 days to hang at the Armory Center. The 800 objects in "Freedom: The International Mail Art Exhibition" included a still-life painting with postage and address affixed to the canvas, and a literal piece of "junk mail" -- a model of a Chinese sailing vessel that had been sent unwrapped through the mail.

While gathered with artist friends around a Thanksgiving table in 1999, Hoffberg came up with the idea for an international edible-book festival, which debuted the next year. By 2006, it was reportedly held in 26 states and 15 countries, usually around April Fools' Day, partly to emphasize the tongue-in-cheek nature of it all.

Local entries have included a peanut-butter-and-sesame tome that spelled out "Open sesame" and a plea for the hungry called "Feed the World," constructed by Santa Monica students in the form of an accordion-fold book of matzo and icing.

One entry that Hoffberg considered most original was "Lettuce Talk about Biotechnology." Messages were cut into individual lettuce leaves, a development that caused crowds to gather to read them before they were eaten.

Judith Ann Hoffberg was born May 19, 1934, in Hartford, Conn., and by the 1950s had moved to Los Angeles with her family. Her father ran a gas station on National Boulevard.

At UCLA, she received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1956, a master's in Italian language and literature in 1960 and a master's in library science in 1964.

As an art librarian, Hoffberg held posts with Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center in Italy, the Library of Congress, the University of Pennsylvania, UC San Diego, the Brand Library in Glendale and the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1973, she co-founded the Art Libraries Society of North America and served as its first chairwoman.

Her lifelong interest in artists' books was reflected in a personal collection that numbered 6,000. UCLA owns some of her collection, and the remainder will go to UC Santa Barbara.

Friends and art colleagues invariably mentioned Hoffberg's keen intelligence, forthright manner and boundless enthusiasm for artists' books.

The name of her art journal led Hoffberg to amass art that she called "umbrelliana," which included a personal collection of almost 200 3-D umbrella objects.

In addition to her nephew, Jon, Hoffberg is survived by another nephew, Kawika Liu.

A memorial service was being planned.

source: Los Angeles Times - By Valerie J. Nelson
6:52 PM PST, January 27, 2009

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Judith Hoffberg - links

Umbrella: http://www.umbrellaeditions.com/index.php
The last editorial of Judith Hoffberg: http://www.umbrellaeditions.com/issue.php?page=125&issue=12
Reminiscence by Judith on the Getty Villa and her days in Italy at ArtScene's website:
http://artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles2006/Articles0706/JHoffberg0706.html

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Judith Hoffberg: 1934 - 2009


Judith Hoffberg passed away peacefully on January 16, 2009

Born May 19, 1934, Judith Hoffberg was a librarian, archivist, lecturer, a curator and art writer, and editor and publisher of Umbrella, a newsletter on artist's books, mail art, and Fluxus art. She received an M.A. in Italian Language and Literature in 1960 and an M.L.S. from the UCLA School of Library Service in June 1964.

I last saw Judith this past Saturday at Hariet Zeitlin's opening at Track 16, still seeing shows, even though she was in a wheelchair. Her last editorial for Umbrella is excerpted below. There is also a great reminiscence by Judith on the Getty Villa and her days in Italy at ArtScene's website. She will be missed by many.


One would not have imagined a disease chasing me down the end of the road, but it happened in August, diagnosed in September, analyses were done by experts, and I came home on the first of October to hospice at my home. To say that I was in a state of shock would be a euphemism. It all came too fast.
As soon as I walked into the house, my life completely changed. I was no longer a writer, editor, publisher, traveler, choc-o-holic, insomniac; I was a cancer patient. I have acute myeloid leukemia. And in the interim between October 1st and as I write this, I have been organizing my archives, throwing things away I never would have otherwise, and preparing myself for the last journey. This is the most difficult editorial I’ve ever written to you, and it will be my last.

In the past, you have learned about alternative spaces all over the world, itineraries of trips that I have taken that have led me to exotic and creative places. You never bargained about learning about Fluxus, mail art and archives, video art, sound art, performance art, rubber stamps, and so much more that was fecund in those early years.

The whole field of artist books became my life and I wanted to share it with all of you. Although marginal at the beginning, it has grown into a movement, a new chapter in art history, one which is recognized by art historians, artists, and all of you. It has become almost too much now, with so many conferences, book fairs, and symposia to attend. And as usual, it has spread globally.

Obsessed with umbrellas and parasols, it allowed me to create a huge collection of “umbrelliana” which has overwhelmed both my domestic and storage settings. I learned more about textiles, fashion, kitsch, marketing, performance art, multicultural innovations with the object umbrella, encountering artists who used the image to intrigue me as well as to whet my appetite. It has been an easy image to collect in paper ephemera as well as almost 200 three-dimensional umbrella objects. From a tiny Chinese lace umbrella to a 19th century silk parasol, from 333 antiquarian books to countless artifacts, the collection has grown over the past 30 years.
Source: http://imoralist.blogspot.com/2009/01/judith-hoffberg-1934-2009.html

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Judith Hoffberg passed away

Judith Hoffberg (Born in 1934) is a librarian, archivist, lecturer, a curator and art writer, and editor and publisher of Umbrella, a newsletter on artists' books, mail art, and Fluxus art. She received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA in 1956. She went on to get an M.A. in Italian Language and Literature in 1960 and an M.L.S. from the UCLA School of Library Service in June 1964.

She was a Special Intern at the Library of Congress after serving as a cataloger in 1964-65 at the Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center in Italy. At the Library of Congress, she was a cataloger in the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress until 1967, when she served as the Fine Arts Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania from 1967-1969. She went on to UCSD from 1969 to 1971 as art, literature and language bibliographer and to the Brand Library in Glendale, CA as Director from 1971 to 1973. From 1974 to 1976, she worked for the Smithsonian Institution as Archivist and Editorial Assistant for the Bicentennial Bibliography of American Arts.

In 1973, she co-founded Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS). She served as the Society's first Chairman, editor of ARLIS/NA Newsletter from 1972 to 1977 and its Executive Secretary from 1974 to 1977.

In 1978, Hoffberg founded Umbrella Associates. Her work includes consulting with archives and libraries. She edited and published Umbrella, a newsletter about artists' books and publications. Hoffberg also lectured widely throughout the US and abroad.

Judith Hoffberg passed away peacefully on January 16, 2009.

THE MAIL-INTERVIEW WITH JUDITH A. HOFFBERG http://www.iuoma.org/hoffberg.html

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The last Editorial of Judith Hoffberg

UMRELLA
To my subscribers, institutions, collectors, artists, friends:

One would not have imagined a disease chasing me down the end of the road, but it happened in August, diagnosed in September, analyses were done by experts, and I came home on the first of October to hospice at my home. To say that I was in a state of shock would be a euphemism. It all came too fast.

As soon as I walked into the house, my life completely changed. I was no longer a writer, editor, publisher, traveler, choc-o-holic, insomniac; I was a cancer patient. I have acute myeloid leukemia. And in the interim between October 1st and as I write this, I have been organizing my archives, throwing things away I never would have otherwise, and preparing myself for the last journey. This is the most difficult editorial I’ve ever written to you, and it will be my last.

In the past, you have learned about alternative spaces all over the world, itineraries of trips that I have taken that have led me to exotic and creative places. You never bargained about learning about Fluxus, mail art and archives, video art, sound art, performance art, rubber stamps, and so much more that was fecund in those early years.

Frankly, it took a lot of work, a lot of reading, a lot of traveling, but the task was as fruitful for me as it was for you. With the technology we went from Composer I to Composer II, to computer. It was a learning curve for me, but I always wanted Umbrella to “look good.” When you saw that light blue issue in the mail, you knew what it was. The whole field of artist books became my life and I wanted to share it with all of you. Although marginal at the beginning, it has grown into a movement, a new chapter in art history, one which is recognized by art historians, artists, and all of you. It has become almost too much now, with so many conferences, book fairs, and symposia to attend. And as usual, it has spread globally.

Obsessed with umbrellas and parasols, it allowed me to create a huge collection of “umbrelliana” which has overwhelmed both my domestic and storage settings. I learned more about textiles, fashion, kitsch, marketing, performance art, multicultural innovations with the object umbrella, encountering artists who used the image to intrigue me as well as to whet my appetite. It has been an easy image to collect in paper ephemera as well as almost 200 three-dimensional umbrella objects. From a tiny Chinese lace umbrella to a 19th century silk parasol, from 333 antiquarian books to countless artifacts, the collection has grown over the past 30 years.

In the ensuing two months I have been in hospice, I have missed sharing with you all the art news, umbrella news, and mail art news for this issue. With this issue I say goodbye, knowing full well that you can always read back issues, do database research in all the issues from vol.1 no. 1, with Umbrella being a free journal for all to read, from 1978 through 2008. This has been made possible for posterity thanks to Indiana University and Sonja Staum-Kuniej at IUPUI.

It is with heartfelt thanks that I recognize all the contributors, even those who sent just snippets of information that I could use for the next issue. Interviews with intriguing artists have been Googled as number one under the artist’s name. Perhaps that is because I chose obscure artists, but why not? And we went from no covers to spectacularly beautiful color covers as the technology allowed us. The printers took extreme care in making Umbrella a handsome and readable publication. No less gratitude is due webmaster, Jim Hanson, who made the electronic issue of Umbrella clear and well-designed transition to the new technology.

Through the years, from the beginning, I have depended upon all the libraries, colleges and universities, public libraries, private collectors, museums, and galleries that supported me in this 31-year endeavor. But it is also the artists, friends, and colleagues, who have allowed me to produce Umbrella. Without you, it could not have happened.

— jah

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New Additions to the Fluxus Heidelberg Center Library


Printed: 116 pages, 21.59 cm x 27.94 cm, perfect binding, black and white interior ink

Description: Over 100 pages, including 50 full-page visual poems and accompanying Fluxus "instructions". Visual poems are "poems for the eyes", and are meant to be seen, rather than heard. The instructions are like little haiku mind games.

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New Additions to the Fluxus Heidelberg Center Library



Collective Fluxus Works : Flux Attitudes.
Rare book

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New Additions to the Fluxus Heidelberg Center Library


Exhibition Catalogue of the Jeff Berner Fluxus Collection

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New Additions to the Fluxus Heidelberg Center Library


Binding: Hardcover
Publisher: London, National Touring Exhibitions, Hayward Gallery and Arts Council...
Date Published: 1996
Description: Ringbound 8vo.
Original printed boards. No dustjacket issued.
First Edition

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Donation for Fluxus Heidelberg Center



FluxKit #1 , #2, #3 , #4 were donated to the Fluxus Heidelberg Center Archive by Keith Buchholz - Fluxus St. Louise - USA. Thank you very much!

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Additions to the Fluxus Heidelberg Center Library


Natural Born Fluxus by Cecil Touchon
Ongoing Text - several Fluxus Artists by Ross Priddle
Performance Texts by Alan Bowman
Fluxus Event Scores by Cecil Touchon
The Neoist Manifesto by Cecil Touchon

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yoko Ono - is her art any good?

Sadly not, if the latest retrospective of her work is any guide.
By Alastair Sooke
Last Updated: 8:05AM GMT 13 Jan 2009

Yoko Ono has a good claim to being the most despised woman of modern times. For decades, she has been caricatured as the wicked witch of rock and roll who broke up the Beatles and stole away John Lennon. Today, at 75, she still lives in the splendid Upper West Side apartment that they shared in New York's gothic Dakota Building, outside of which Lennon was shot in 1980.

But, long before she met the most gifted member of the Fab Four in London's Indica Gallery in 1966, Ono was an artist in New York, fraternising with avant-garde creative types such as the composer John Cage (she was part of the Fluxus movement of artists), and hosting concerts attended by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Marcel Duchamp in her loft in downtown Manhattan.

A new retrospective, Yoko Ono: Between the Sky and My Head, which opened recently at the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead, features 50 pieces stretching back to 1961, and attempts to make the case that she was a pioneering figure in the development of conceptual and performance art who deserves to be remembered as a radical practitioner in her own right, and not simply as the wife of a Beatle. Lennon was convinced that his Japanese wife was a trailblazing genius; Baltic's curators take this as gospel fact.

Looking around the exhibition, though, it's hard not to reflect that Lennon's praise was surely the by-product of his infatuation, rather than an objective measure of Ono's artistic worth. As an artist, Ono undoubtedly has her moments; but, for the most part, her work is muddled by the kind of whimsical freethinking that is a hangover of the Sixties and Seventies, and which today seems fey, pretentious, out of touch and out of date. "Imagine Peace" screams a billboard that dominates Baltic's vast north facade, overlooking the River Tyne, serving as a come-on and mantra for Ono's show (and entire oeuvre). Sure, who wouldn't give their right hand in exchange for everlasting global harmony? But try sticking a poster with that slogan in Gaza City at the moment, and see how far it gets you.

Underneath the hippy claptrap, there is a talented artist who occasionally muscles her way to the forefront, but whether you can be bothered to hang around for those moments is another matter.

Let's start with the good. The strongest work in the show is Cut Piece, a performance presented here in two incarnations: a film of Ono performing the piece at the Carnegie Hall in New York in 1965, and a film of another performance of the same work nearly four decades later in a Paris theatre. In both cases, Ono sits on stage against a black backdrop. Throughout, she is silent, immobile and impassive, like a piece of ancient Egyptian funerary sculpture, while members of the audience take it in turns to approach her and cut at her clothing with a worryingly large pair of tailor's shears.

The films are compelling and disturbing at the same time, and somehow voyeuristic, as though the performance is a sublimated representation of some awful scene of rape or domestic abuse. It is upsetting to see more bullish male audience members hack away at the silk straps and delicate gauze of Ono's underclothes with breathy gusto.

Cut Piece, which dates from 1964, chimes with contemporary feminist thinking, of course, asking us to reflect on the subjugation of women. But, more importantly (and this is why the piece has lasted), it forces us to confront the capacity for violence within ourselves, bringing us face-to-face with primal, semi-bestial urges that we might like to excise from definitions of what it means to be human. Those men and women wielding the shears: they are you, and me.

Fly, a video work from 1970, is similarly unforgettable. Over six screens and 25 minutes, a camera records in close-up the movements of a tiny black housefly as it crawls and prances across the body of a naked woman. Again, the woman is noticeably passive; again, the piece has feminist overtones: it was supposedly inspired by Ono's memory of a man comically unable to stop himself ogling a woman's breasts, and it presents the female form, with its fleshy hillocks and ravines, as a landscape, a patriarchal conceit that has come naturally to male writers and artists since way back when.

But the work also has unsettling associations that, as in Cut Piece, by implication incriminate the viewer. Why does the woman not swat at the fly? Is she a corpse? And, if I enjoy watching the film, does that make me a peeping tom? Fly is a critique (and parody) of male sexual desire.

Ono made most of her best work during the Sixties and Seventies. Some of the later stuff, by comparison, feels slight. We're All Water, from 2006, consists of 118 glass bottles sitting side by side on a long shelf. Each bottle is two-thirds full of water and has been labelled, almost at random, with the name of someone famous, from Sid Vicious to Hitler to Virginia Woolf (her surname is misspelt) to Ono herself.

A piece like this lives or dies on the strength of the concept behind it; making art out of the truism that, after death, we are all the same feels hackneyed and banal, and wilfully ignores the interesting and complex thing about human identity, which is that we are all unique. Other than the fact that two thirds of their body mass consisted of water, in what ways were the frontman of the Sex Pistols and the pre-eminent writer of the Bloomsbury set similar? This is the equivalent of making art that says: hey, humans share 60 per cent of their DNA with fruit flies. Whatever.

Play It By Trust, a giant chess set made using sleek Carrara marble (the material of Michelangelo's David) last year, is another example of Ono's recent folly. The piece is a version of a set she showed in London back in '66; the gimmick is that all the chessmen are white, so that the set is effectively unplayable. The pacifist message is clear: make love, not war. But reprising this neat if one-trick idea in expensive Italian marble is an extravagance. The forms of the chessmen are visually alluring and tactile, of course, but to what end? I couldn't help but feel that this sculptural work was a kind of con.

"I don't think the poor bastard will get recognition until she's dead," John Lennon once said of his wife.

I'm not so sure she'll get it even then. Except for a handful of examples where Ono has struck artistic gold, the work on show at Baltic feels slender and slight, and too muted and tasteful to really stake a claim to longevity.

Lennon also called Ono "the most famous unknown artist in the world: everybody knows who she is, but nobody knows what she does". I suspect that this isn't about to change.

'Yoko Ono: Between the Sky and My Head' is at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (0191 478 1810), until March 15.
source: Telegraph.co.uk

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fluxus Ausstellung / Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich


Willem de Ridders European Mail-Order Warehouse/Fluxshop, 1965, rekonstruiert von Jon Hendricks 1984, The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection. Foto: Rick Gardner

15.01.2009 – 26.04.2009
Vernissage 15.01.2009 18:00

Fluxus – eine Ausstellung als Videobibliothek

Wer war Fluxus? Was war/ ist Fluxus? Wo ist Fluxus?
Fluxus besteht aus einer verwirrenden Vielfalt an Erscheinungsformen: Fluxus Editionen, Fluxus Performances/ Events, Fluxus Filme, Fotos von Performances, Texte von KünstlerInnen, Briefe und Newsletter der Fluxus Gruppe.

Die Idee von Fluxus ist anti-museal, daher ist das Kernstück der Ausstellung eine Videobibliothek, in der Filme von und über Fluxus KünstlerInnen zu sehen sind.
Eine Ausstellung kuratiert von Dorothee Richter und Adrian Notz, kuratorische Assistenz Siri Peyer.

Den Hintergrund für die Entstehung einer internationalen Künstlergruppe bildete die spezifische historische Situation in der BRD der Besatzungstruppen. Gleichzeitig war der Bruch mit der Avantgarde, der durch das Nazi-Regime erzwungen wurde, nach wie vor wirksam, so dass noch immer ein gewisses Vakuum in den Künsten vorhanden war. So konnte das erste Festival im September 1962 im Museum von Wiesbaden stattfinden, und war somit auch in der Institution Kunst positioniert und sanktioniert.

Das „reisende Kader“ der Fluxus-Bewegung, Robert Filliou, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Emmett Williams, Ben Patterson, Wolf Vostell, Alison Knowles und George Maciunas, führte in wechselnder Besetzung Festivals in ganz Europa auf: Paris, Düsseldorf, Kopenhagen, London und Nizza. Auf dieser Tournee gesellten sich Tomas Schmit, Eric Andersen, Joseph Beuys, Robin Page, Daniel Spoerri und Ben Vautier zu der ursprünglichen Fluxus-Gruppe. Die Liste aller Fluxus-KünstlerInnen umfasste bis zu 84 Namen.

Kennzeichnend für die Fluxus-Gruppe ist, dass die KünstlerInnen ihre Kontroversen über Newsletter ausgetragen haben und damit, ohne zu einer einheitlichen Meinung zu gelangen, einem bestimmten Umfeld ihre Debatten zu sehen gaben. Sie schufen Plattformen für ihre inhaltlichen Diskussionen, gleichzeitig entstand ein interner und externer Konkurrenzkampf um Definitionsmacht. Intermedia oder Transdisziplinarität entstand so nicht additiv, sondern aufgrund einer radikalen Haltung, um die gestritten wurde.

Ab 1964 setzte in den USA die Produktion von Editionen in Form von Schachteln, Spielen, Karten, Filmen und Boxen ein. Kunst sollte jedermann zugänglich sein, die KünstlerInnen übernahmen die Distribution selbst. Dies ist als Kritik am offiziellen, elitären Kunstmarkt zu verstehen. Da die Boxen meist handgefertig waren und mit dem speziellen aufwändigen Design von Maciunas versehen wurden, war kein Stück ganz gleich wie ein anderes, und Fluxus wurde auf vielerlei Weise vom Kunstmarkt eingeholt.

Fluxus wurde nicht nur überliefert, sondern existierte von Anfang an im Medium der Fotografie und der Sprache – obwohl Fluxus-Events (paradoxerweise) als Partituren notiert wurden. Diese Art der Notation ist ein Raster, das Performances und bildende Kunst in einen neuen Materialbegriff einsetzt. Künstlerische Äußerungen verlassen die Leinwände und werden zu Aktionen im Raum, die anhand von Partituren von jedermann/frau ausgeführt werden können und damit beliebig wiederholbar sind.

Erstaunlicher Weise besteht Fluxus als lockere Gruppierung noch immer, mit neuen und alten Events, einer Vielzahl an künstlerischen Produktionen und gelegentlichen Festivals, wie das Festival, das am 11. Und 12. Dezember 2008 im cabaret voltaire stattfand, eindrücklich zeigte.

Zur Ausstellung erscheint eine Fluxuszeitung, mit Texten von Dorothee Richter.

In Kooperation mit dem Postgraduate Program in Curating, www.curating.org, der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.
Die Ausstellung wird unterstützt von der Dr. Adolf Streuli-Stiftung und vom Migros Kulturprozent.

Während der Ausstellungsdauer findet vom Institut für Theorie eine Diskussion zum Begriff der Gemeinschaft statt. Referenten, Ort und Zeit entnehmen Sie bitte der Website www.ith-z.ch und www.cabaretvoltaire.ch.

Eintritt frei

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Travelling Fluxus Camera Video



Video of the Fluxus Camera Calendar that Roland halbritter sent to Litsa Spathi - Breda - Netherlands. Januari 2009.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

a musical DICTIONARY of 80 people around FLUXUS


Mieko Shiomi, "Fluxus Suite", ? Records, 10. 2002


Mieko Shiomi, "Fluxus Suite", ? Records, 10. 2002


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[magyar]
FLUXUS SUITE • MIEKO SHIOMI

a musical DICTIONARY of 80 people around FLUXUS

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Fluxus, I composed eighty short musical pieces for eighty Fluxus people using the following methods:

1) For each person, I used only the pitches available from the letter spelling his / her name. If an s, e+s or i+s was included in the name, b or # would be added to certain notes. For instance, Giuseppe Chiari gets eleven pitches, c, cis (c#), es (e b ), e, eis (e#), ges (g b ), g, as (a b ), a, ais (a#) and h. A few people, such as Allan Kaprow and Peter Moore have just one note, a or e, and a few groups of people have very similar or exactly the same combination of pitches. But it caused no problem, because
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2) A different timbre was applied to each person. Some of the timbres in my synthesizer are sampled sounds or noises with complex or sliding pitches. These timbres were mainly used for the people who have a fewer number of pitches.
3) Regarding how to describe each person, I took a few different approaches. The first is a realization of one of his / her works. Secondly, I imitated some of their methods or techniques. For instance, the order of John Cage's notes was determined by chance operation. The piece for Jean Dupuy consists of musical anagrams. In the case of Yasunao Tone, his name in Chinese characters was written on the blank score and the points where the characters crossed the musical staffs corresponding to his pitches of es, e, as, a in 6 octaves were traced to form musical phrases. Or, as Emmett Williams lined up the alphabet to determine the points of pasting corresponding images and objects on a board, I lined up his pitches (es, e, eis, as, a, ais in 5 octaves) under the 26 letters of the alphabet and got a tone series by linking the 14 letters e, m, m, e, t, t, w, i, l, l, i, a, m, s to his pitches.
Thirdly, I chose key words related to their jobs, the instruments or materials they use, the fragments they contributed for my past projects, or something which seems to characterize them. For the rest of the people, I followed my personal impressions or dogmatic understandings of them.
4) Since eighty people should be included on the CD, approx. 50 seconds, on the average, was allowed for each person. At the recording, while the most of the pieces were played automatically through the computer-synthesizer unit, some I played myself on the keyboard.

( ) pitches available, " " title of the piece being realized, - key words

1. Dietrich Albrecht (c, d, e, a, b, h)
2. Eric Andersen ( c, cis, d, dis, e, eis, as, a, ais, ces) - "Opus 16"
3. Ay-O (a) - "Hallelujah, John Cage!"
4. Michael Berger (c, e, g, a, b, h) - Harlekin
5. Joseph Beuys (es, e, b, h)
6. René Block (c, e, b)
7. Luigi Bonotto (g, b) - textile
8. George Brecht (c, e, g, b, h) - "Drip Music"
9. Stanley Brouwn (es, e, as, a, b)
10. Jean Brown (e, a, b)

11. John Cage (c, e, g, a, h) - chance operation
12. Giuseppe Chiari (c, cis, es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, ais, h) - piano
13. Henri Chopin (c, e, h)
14. Henning Christiansen ( c, cis, es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, ais, h)
15. Christo (c, cis, h)
16. Francesco Conz (c, es, e, f, as, a, ces) - Verona
17. Philip Corner (c, e, h) - "Pulse"
18. Jacques Donguy (c, des, d, es, e, ges, g, as, a, ces)
19. Jean Dupuy (d, e, a) - anagram
20. Esther Ferrer (es, e, f, h) - "The stage is to be crossed"

21. Robert Filliou (e, f, b)
22. Henry Flynt (e, f, h)
23. Ken Friedman (d, e, f, a)
24. Allen Ginsberg (es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, b)
25. Ludwig Gosewitz (des, d, dis, e, eis, ges, g, gis) - glassbrowing
26. Al Hansen (es, e, as, a, h) - "Das Attentat"
27. Geoffrey Hendricks (c, cis, d, dis, e, f, fis, g, gis, h)
28. Jon Hendricks (c, cis, d, dis, e, eis, h)
29. Juan Hidalgo (d, g, a, h)
30. Dick Higgins (c, cis, d, dis, g, gis, h)

31. Davi Det Hompson (des, d, dis, e, eis, as, a, ais, h, his) - "Calculations"
32. Armin Hundrtmark (d, e, a, h) - Cologne
33. Alice Hutchins (c, cis, es, e, eis, as, a, ais, h) - magnet
34. Joe Jones (es, e) - mechanical guitar
35. Allan Kaprow (a) - happening
36. Bengt af Klintberg (e, f, g, a, b) - "Canto 2"
37. Milan Knizak (a)
38. Alison Knowles ( es, e, eis, as, a, ais) - "Mantra for Jessie"
39. Arthur Koepcke (c, e, a, h) - "Fill with own imagination"
40. Takehisa Kosugi (es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, ais, h, his) - live electronic music

41. Shigeko Kubota (es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, ais, h, his) - video sculpture
42. Vytautas Landsbergis (des, d, dis, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, b) - dignity
43. Jean Jacques Lebel (c, es, e, as, a, b, ces)
44. George Maciunas (cis, cis, es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, ais, ces)
(A) - "In Memoriam to Adrino Olivetti" (B) - fanatic
45. Jackson MacLow (c, as, a) - asymmetry
46. Gino Di Maggio (d, g, a)
47. Walter Marchetti (c, e, a, h) - falling stones
48. Jonas Mekas (es, e, as, a) - film archives
49. Larry Miller (e, a) - duality
50. Barbara Moore (e, a, b) - Bound & Unbound

51. Peter Moore (e) - shutter
52. Charlotte Moorman (c, e, a, h) - cello
53. Hermann Nitsch (c, cis, es, e, eis, as, a, ais, h) - organ
54. Serge Oldenbourg (des, d, es, e, ges, g, b)
55. Pauline Oliveros (es, e, eis, as, a, ais) - deep listening
56. Yoko Ono (none = silence)
57. Nam June Paik (e, a)
58. Ben Patterson (es, e, as, a, b) - contrabass
59. Willem de Ridder (d, e) - "Walkman Piece"

60. Dieter Roth (d, e, h)
61. Harry Ruhé (e, a, h)
62. Gerhard Rühm (d, e, g, a, h) - "Lied ohne Worte"
63. Takako Saito (as, a, ais) - game
64. Gianni Sassi (g, gis, a, ais) - palindrome
65. Tomas Schmit (c, cis, as, a, ais, h) - "Sanitas No. 152"
66. Carolee Schneemann (c, es, e, as, a, h)
67. Mieko Shiomi (es, e, eis, h, his) - "Water Music"
68. Gilbert Silverman (es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, b) - collection
69. Gianni-Emilio Simonetti (es, e, eis, ges, g, gis, a, ais) - mosaic
70. Hanns Sohm (as, a, h)

71. Daniel Spoerri (des, d, dis, e, eis, as, a, ais) - dance
72. Yasunao Tone (es, e, as, a) - Chinese character
73. Tót Endre (d, e) - "Zehn Zeichnungen aus der Reihe"
74. Ben Vautier (e, a, b) - "shoot at art"
75. Wolf Vostell (es, e, f) - decollage
76. Yoshimasa Wada (d, dis, a, ais, h, his) - sound installation
77. Robert Watts (es, e, as, a, b) - post stamp
78. Emmett Williams (es, e, eis, as, a, ais) - alphabet
79. La Monte Young (e, g, a) - drone
80. Marian Zazeela (e, a) - light work

copyright Mieko Shiomi April, 2002

source: http://www.artpool.hu/Fluxus/Shiomi/Suite.html

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Interview with Hannah Higgins

hannahhiggins

interview by jeff abell


Dick Higgins, Danger Music No. 17, 1962. Photo by Mercedes Vostell. Courtesy the Estate of Dick Higgins.

Hannah Higgins' book, Fluxus Experience, was published by University of California Press in 2002. At a time when most art historians follow the poststructuralist model of "everything is text," her book is refreshingly free of that dogma. Noting that Fluxus artists themselves were all reading American philosopher John Dewey (best known for his book Art as Experience), Higgins focuses on how the artists promoted a sensual/intellectual encounter with things. The following discussion took place in my office at Columbia College Chicago in November 2003.--jeff abell

In addition to being an art historian and a professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, you're also the daughter of Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, both of whom were prominent members of Fluxus. What was it like being a Flux kid?

You know, I think the most obvious answer is: whatever a child is born into is normal for that child. If you're born part of the British royal family, that life is a normal life for you. So I would say, at some fundamental level, my life was entirely normal, relative to the parameters that I knew as normal. Now, those parameters included meals where everything was a single color, or watching a friend of your parents lowered out of a helicopter nude. From the point of view of the outside world, that's an unusual background. But don't forget that most of these artists--unlike artists generally, I think--had children, and we were all very good friends, because we always found ourselves together at these events. So not only was it not unusual, it was normal within the social milieu of these young people. Now, where it got funky was if you didn't know not to talk about it around a friend's parents, and this used to happen to me all the time. I was very lucky, because my great-grandparents sent me to a wonderful prep school in New York City--a very fancy little place called Dalton--and I got an amazing education. But I remember in fifth grade just openly talking about my parents' work--I do the same as an adult, although now I know I'm breaching boundaries, whereas then I didn't. I'd be asked what my parents did and I'd say, "Well, they're members of Fluxus, and their friends do this and this"...and then I couldn't go to that girl's house ever again, and she could never come to mine. So there were these shocking realizations that there was a world which was not only hostile to art, but which didn't understand that art of every kind is made by people. And people are fundamentally all the same; they usually have the same sorts of aspirations--for love, security, companionship. It's just that if you're hardwired in a certain funky way, the world treats you as if you don't want or deserve those things. So I remember vividly in high school--and I was never particularly interested in shocking anyone--that the clothes I felt comfortable in, and the music I was comfortable with, were strange. I was sort of defined as a rebel. And I wasn't rebelling; if anything, I was very much conforming to my own milieu.

Conforming?!

Absolutely. I mean, the most rebellious thing I ever did was get a PhD in art history, marry a businessman, and have two children. That was rebellious, in my world. So what was interesting about being a Flux kid was its very mundane, normal character. It became harder for all of us as we got older, and I would say many of the Fluxus kids have done the kind of thing I've done. Mordecai MacLow is a tenured astrophysicist at Hayden Planetarium; Bracken Hendricks started the Apollo Alliance, which is a political action group designed to bring together causes of labor and the environment. Most Fluxus kids have tended to desire, profoundly, a straighter life. I wouldn't call it "the straight life," because probably none of us would be happy as--well I can't think of a job...

Accountants?

I was going to say accountants, but then there are some interesting collectors who are accountants, so they express their interesting sides in other parts of their lives. I think what we probably all learned, and took very much to heart, is this notion that you can be an artist in any field. With the creative relationship to the world that Fluxus engenders, there really isn't anything that can't be a kind of artistic or cultural practice--and that could include accounting, or mathematics, or astrophysics, or for me, art history, or for my sister, massage therapy. So I would be loath to say there's any field that a Flux kid wouldn't be happy in. But I could say that maybe there are some sets of restrictions that the kids couldn't accept as a given. I teach pretty much what I want, where I teach, and I certainly wouldn't be there if someone told me that I had to teach these four courses every year, and I had to use these particular textbooks.

Or if there was a canon of artists you had to discuss.

Right. I generally tend to deal in the canon because I like the work, but I feel I can add or take away as I see fit, based on my view of my practice. The other interesting part of it--and this maybe explains some of my interest in Black Mountain College--is that I think most of us were deeply intellectual at very early ages. Not because anyone ever pushed a book toward us, but because there was a kind of natural creativity that was fostered in all of us. So the teachers I did best with were usually the ones who did pretty much nothing--the ones who'd walk into class and say, "This is the book we're discussing. There's no list of questions." Or, "This is the topic for the semester; here are the readings. Now it's up to you." That notion of giving interpretive and creative responsibility over to children--who then become students who then become college professors--is something I feel very invested in. And I think that's probably due to the Flux kid experience. It was remarkable; we're all friends, and now most of us are pushing 40, and we can all tell these stories that'll make us pee in our pants laughing. Like Clarinda MacLow's story about how her mother made her wear a shirt with little colored threads sewn all over it, or the kid whose father used to sew rainbow wedges of different shapes into his pants and drop him off at second grade--the trauma! It's funny.

I remember your talking about seeing your dad performing Danger Music no. 17.

Yeah. I actually wrote an article in New Art Examiner 10 years ago about those early experiences with performance. The score for that piece reads: "Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream! Scream!" And the way it's conventionally performed is: you scream as loud as you can until you pretty much lose your voice. I actually did it last week in Amsterdam--twice in one night--and my throat hurt for 10 days. But I remember coming down the stairs when I was about 4, and there was a group of people in our living room. I came around the corner just as my father started the piece, and it was existential. It was like watching a parent being sawed in half. Children of actors and actresses must experience this profoundly--you know, at a child's intellectual level, that this is a performance, yet it's your parent in this situation. It's a really strange combination of the real and the not-real. I remember feeling like I was in a tunnel with a light at the end of it, and all I could see was his face boring into me. Similarly, when I was about 11 or 12, I was with my mother in Canada, and at that time she was working with burning plastic, using these very large vertical sheets maybe 20 feet high. The concept relates to her big book, which was this 8-foot-tall pop-up book of environments she made in 1968--you could walk from page to page. Well, she had this freestanding "page" she was cutting with a blowtorch, and then she would very rapidly separate the two pieces of burning plastic with her hand. And her hand ignited. I remember sitting in the audience thinking, "Oh shit! My mother's on fire!" But then she put it out on her clothes, and continued with the performance. I sat there in a panic, while the rest of the audience went on to watch the piece, figuring she probably hadn't seriously hurt herself. Well, she had third-degree burns--the plastic had adhered to her skin, and she still has a white line down her arm. So there are those extremely strange moments, which any child of a really invested creative professional gets. Maybe that's the difference between being the child of someone who designs books, and being the child of someone who's in performance--the performer's whole body is in it, and at that point, as a child, you're no longer connected to that body. Most kids probably never experience that level of alienation from the parental body. It's so strange. For the last 20 years of his life, my father made paintings. And while he was very absorbed when he was painting, it was more about a connection to the object he was working on, which is a different gestalt. You can come in and interrupt that relationship. You can't interrupt the relationship between a person and a body that's on fire, or a body that's screaming at the top of its lungs. And all the Fluxus kids have that kind of story, to different degrees.

Isn't Beck also connected to Fluxus?

He's the next generation. Beck's grandfather was Al Hansen; he was a fabulous artist who made collages out of Hershey bar wrappers in the shape of Stone Age Venuses, and wrote the primer on Happenings. Al's daughter Bibi lived with him in New York when she was a teenager, at the peak of the Fluxus period. She has hilarious stories to tell, because unlike my parents--who always made sure dinner was on the table and knew when to shop for school clothes--Al was completely oblivious. So Bibi, after being home alone for a few days without food, opened some cans of tomato soup in the kitchen cupboard--and they turned out to be signed Warhols. We all have stories of breaking art that you weren't supposed to be touching. My great story is visiting Hannah Hoch in Berlin when I was 10. She and my father were talking in one room about art and the avant-garde, and I was sitting in the back room, which was her studio. I found this pile of collages and started picking at them, and I ended up peeling apart some really important Hannah Hochs...oops! But to get back to Beck, he's one of Bibi's sons, both of whom are amazing. Chandler is a performance artist in LA--although his last name is not Hansen. And Beck obviously took off with his rock music, which is very influenced by his grandfather. If you read Beck's liner notes, you see a lot of Flux this and Flux that, and how he uses music in a kind of collaged way--which is very influenced by Al's work. There are a lot of links between Fluxus and popular culture. Another important one is Yoko Ono, who's obviously this very problematic figure in Fluxus, because she doesn't really share any sort of social interest in the community of Fluxus people. She's a contested person, but her screaming records with John Lennon profoundly changed the way the B-52s were thinking about music. And there are other places where the move into rock 'n' roll is really intense and fast. I see Fluxus very much at the core of what became punk: the whole notion of destroying instruments onstage came from Nam June Paik. The Who adopted it first, and then the punk bands. Now bands do it all the time--in fact, it has become predictable and not very interesting.

We mounted an evening of reconstructed Fluxus pieces at N.A.M.E. in the mid-1980s here in Chicago, and I did Ken Friedman's Fruit in Three Acts, in which, among other things, I dropped a watermelon out a third-story window. I'd gone in beforehand to scope it out, and knew there was a fire escape about 10 feet directly below the window. So there was no way this falling object was gonna kill somebody--they might get glooped, but no one was going to get injured. But it made everyone very uptight. And there were several other things on the program that were on the border of being transgressive, and could have potentially upset people. Someone else was doing Robin Page's pull-toy piece, and the performer got this bright idea to use a guitar--only he tied it to the back of a truck, climbed onto the guitar, and rode it round the block. He's so lucky he didn't get killed. But nobody was upset about that! Meanwhile, I drop this watermelon out the window and suddenly everyone's freaking. So 20 years later, this piece was still vividly transgressive--which, to me, was all the more reason to do it. But on the other hand, it's the kind of thing Dave Letterman does all the time.

And that's the point. It's interesting that popular culture is ready for this work, while the art world still really isn't. You see that over and over again. Last year, there were those people living in the Sears windows--I can't remember the name of the performance group--but that's a notion that started with Ben Vautier in 1962 at the Festival of Misfits in London, was taken up without proper credit by Yoko and John with the Bed-In for peace in Amsterdam in 1968, and now here it is in pop culture. But you'll rarely see it in the art world, in any sort of meaningful way.

Well, with things like the Internet, and websites, and video games, the average person is perfectly comfortable with the overlap of image, text, and sound; they have no problem with intermedia. The art world is still struggling over what to do with it.

Well, the art world can't figure out how they're going to make money on it. And one of the hardest things to reconcile, for me, is that I earn a living working on Fluxus, and writing and teaching about art, while most of the artists themselves are still struggling to get by.


Left: Jeff Abell (with Brendan deVallance, foreground) hosting an evening of Fluxus performance at N.A.M.E., Chicago, 1986. Right: Alison Knowles with Augustin Dupuy at the opening of Loose Pages, Emily Harvey Gallery, 1983. Photo by Melanie Hedlund. Courtesy the artist.

For the sake of our readers who don't have personal memories of Fluxus, how would you synopsize it?

You want the two-sentence version of Fluxus?

It resists definition; we both know that. But can we come up with a short way of defining it?

I would say that Fluxus is justifiably defined in very different ways, depending on when, where, and how people learn about it. That would be one non-answer--the Flux answer. Most Fluxus artists all over the world were doing Fluxus-like work before there was something called Fluxus. So if you were in Denmark, you learned this through Eric Andersen and his experience of Bewogen Beweging, or "Moving Movement," which was an historic kinetic art show from the 1960s. If you were in Germany, you found it among the students of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the Darmstadt circle--who were talking about serialism and experimental musical structure in a way that a student of Cage never would. If you're talking to one of the Japanese Fluxus artists, there's a good chance they met at the University of Tokyo, and had some relationship to Group Ongaku, which was another experimental musical group. Most of these scenes had some connection to music: some of the artists were training to be involved in music professionally, although most of them were actually discovering music as an "other"--a structure or practice distinct from forms more traditional to the art world, such as painting. Now, I'm the daughter of two New York Fluxus artists; Dick was in the historic John Cage composition class of 1958 at the New School for Social Research, which included most of the future practitioners of Fluxus in New York. For me, Fluxus is predominantly a social entity--it marked the need of a group of experimental artists to have a context, and they found each other in the Cage class. The "event," which is this Minimalist performance form where you have a simple instruction like "dripping" or "polishing"--some very reduced action--was invented in that class by George Brecht. George Maciunas first engaged with this group of artists in 1961 through his gallery, AG, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan; he later invented the Fluxus Kit, which were these objects for handling and using, and which I think of as a materialization of the event. He also gave concerts to La Monte Young and many key figures in the avant-garde, and began publishing Fluxus scores and objects. So my definition comes from that New York context, which actually allows one to say quite a lot about Fluxus. But a definition of Fluxus should always hinge on the position from which your practitioner, writer, or thinker speaks about it.

That's a good definition.

Although a lot falls outside it. I was in Baltimore giving a biographical lecture about my father's life, and I took a question from the audience which I think was spot-on as a criticism both of my book and of the way I think about Fluxus. I was asked, "OK, you talk about Fluxus as a community, but what is the social structure of that community? What are the politics of that community? What is the identity of that community like?" And those are issues I haven't really addressed. They're parts of someone else's Fluxus, and necessary ones, but they're books for other people to write. My book is not exhaustive. It's not a perfect account--I don't think you could have a perfect account--but it's useful. I think my book does say, at least, that Fluxus is something besides a group of artists circled around George Maciunas. That has been the predominant message in the past, and it's really historically inaccurate. There's almost no basis for that in the way the artists saw it, with the exception of Henry Flynt and Emmett Williams--both of whose work I love--and Maciunas himself. Now, the collectors love that model--they love an art movement to have a center, because then value accrues as you get to closer to the center. It's like any other capitalist model: you want to get to the source of production and own it. And if you own Maciunas, you own the source of production, and everything he produces has value.

And a greater value than the people who are farther out in the circle.

Right. Which just doesn't make sense historically; it's not how it worked, or continues to work. Fluxus is a group of people who love each other passionately and hate each other passionately--they're like a family that way. It represents 45 years of this productive friendship, and to say Fluxus is an idea that's completely divorced from the personal, or from the individual, is to lose a sense of the value of that love and that friendship. So I would say there is this thing "Fluxus," which is quite precise, and then there is something called "Fluxism," which is also quite precise. They tend to overlap, but they don't always. So you have artists who work in a Fluxist sensibility who are not actually Fluxus artists, and you have much work by Fluxus artists that's not actually Fluxus work.

So where would you place somebody, for example, like Öyvind Fahlström? He was from Sweden, of course, but he was in New York at that key moment in the early '60s, had affiliations with Cage, and was doing sound, performance, and politically oriented work that seemed very much akin to what Fluxus was doing. Yet I've never really seen his name crop up as someone who was part of the group. Would you then call his work Fluxist?

Well, I wouldn't even call it that, because I think to do Fluxist work, you have to choose the name for yourself. It would be like calling a Surrealist who was interested in light an Impressionist. I would say the similarity has to do with something almost like a zeitgeist--there was this notion of needing to resist Expressionism and painting, and the monolithic American control of culture, in the postwar period. So you have someone like Dieter Roth in Iceland, or Öyvind Fahlström, producing books and music and all kinds of things that are interventions. Neither of them particularly chose to be associated with Fluxus. But there, you're starting to talk about a very broad band, a kind of cultural dimension. I would almost call that conceptual art, in the very broadest sense, in that the concept can be held not only in a book but also in the body, or in a piece of music, or in Fahlström's case, in an ideogram. Actually, I'm interested to know if Fahlström's in the Fluxus Codex--can I take a look? OK, here we go: "It was announced in the tentative plans for the first issues of Fluxus that Öyvind Fahlström would contribute Possibilities of Electronic Television for Fluxus No. 2 West European issue." So he apparently knew Maciunas, and was very specifically aware of the work, and of the possibility of participating in it. But it looks like the work never actually materialized, so maybe he decided not to.

Yeah, that wouldn't really surprise me too much. I don't know if I ever told you this, but I did a performance piece once, and as part of that work I destroyed a book. I actually tore up a copy of Daniel Spoerri's The Anecdoted Topography of Chance--

You did tell me. Why that book?

Because tearing the book up needed to hurt.

It's such a good book.

It's such an important book, and such a hard one to find. And indeed, there was somebody from the Museum of Contemporary Art in the audience, and when he saw me start to break the book's spine, he yelled "No!" at the top of his lungs. He was horrified I would take a book that rare and tear it to pieces.

So that's the Jeff Abell version of Paik's One for Violin Solo, where the violin is broken. But why do that?

In the context of the piece, it seemed to me to be essential--it was a piece about loss overall, and how we come to terms with loss.

But you have another copy now.

Actually, I have two more of them.

Wait: I want to know how many copies you had when you destroyed that one.

I had four.

So you had backup copies? Oh Jeff--that's very slippery!

Well, two of them went to pieces during the run of that performance. And one that's left actually belongs to someone else--it's visiting me right now. So I actually really own just one copy.

OK. Hmm.

It still hurt to tear the book up!

Though maybe not as much!

But that piece was about what I called "distressful objects," which to me resonated off of some of the Fluxus ideas--for example, that one's encounter with an object is not necessarily a happy encounter. I'm thinking of some of the Ay-O boxes where you put your finger into a hole--

And it turns out to be full of pins.

Or rusty razor blades, or something nasty like that. So for me it's more of an emotional notion--if someone gives you something, it continues to resonate with that person, and you can't really remove that resonance from the object. And at a certain point in time, if the distress over that person is enough, then you can't retain the object anymore.

So did someone give you that book?

Yes. And it was the gift copy that got ripped up.

OK. That's a little different from the Paik, then, because in that work the violin is generic, whereas you're talking about the right one has to terminate or eliminate the physical refuse of a relationship that's lingering in one's life.

Well it's interesting, because in the first chapter of your book you talk about how in handling things--

--they reveal themselves to us. Yeah, that's Heidegger.

You quote David Michael Levin: "The things we handle will always reciprocate the treatment they receive in our hands. Thus, when our gestures become very caring, they receive back from things we have handled with care a much deeper disclosure of their ontological truth." That's the idea I was trying to understand, get rid of, or cope with in some way.

Actually, for me, that's a really crucial concept, because ontological truth is so unfashionable. The notion that there is truth at all is completely debatable in the poststructuralist universe. And yet I think it's a kind of faith in that relativity that's allowing us to go to war, and kill people, and be so flippant about it, because human suffering itself is totally abstract. Even the most naïve television viewer is cynical about the truth of the news. But it's almost a religious conviction for me that we inhabit a universe that is real at some fundamental level. And even if we accept the limits of our ability to communicate that reality, it does not mean that reality doesn't exist. There's some level just above that reality that I'm very interested in, which is where you touch something and it touches you back, or you break something and it's broken in terms of your own body, and your own self. I think, culturally, we've really lost a sense of that reciprocality. The Ay-O boxes, for me, are the place where that's most clearly manifest. But I think much of the work in Fluxus has that dimension to it. And that's where I got interested in experimental education.

Yes, I wanted to ask about that. In your book, you talk about how Fluxus was influenced by John Dewey--someone typically read these days only by art educators--and his whole notion of art as experience, which is also out of fashion at the moment.

Yeah. I feel like I walk through conferences in some sort of Victorian neckline, you know? And I hope it's not because I'm intensely repressed! I don't think it is, but you can't quite be sure. Anyway, Dewey was someone who went out of style with poststructuralism, but he was very important for many of the artists of the 1960s, at the time they were making their work. Allan Kaprow was reading Dewey, and making Happenings, and studying with Cage. Daisetz Suzuki, when he was teaching at Columbia University, kept a picture of Dewey over his desk. And Suzuki is crucial for Cage. So Dewey was at the center of how these artists understood their relationship to materials. He was also on the board of Black Mountain College, where Cage and Merce Cunningham taught and became sort of grandfathers to Fluxus. Many of the people who were experimenting with materials in that '60s way--this sensual way that I'm interested in--had a connection to Dewey, although it was completely obscured when the challenges this work brings to verbal discourse became exploited by poststructuralism and political discourse. So Dewey is written out as some sort of crazy idea the artists were into, and then we get this poststructuralist balloon of theory telling us what the artists were really doing. Now, I love to read a lot of that theory, but I read it like a drug, because in understanding it, my brain is literally so stimulated it's like firecrackers going off. I enter some sort of ether that has nothing to do with--

The real world?

Or the world that artists inhabit, which is a dumber world. And I mean that in the most flattering way. My mother's always saying, "I'm so dumb." And she doesn't mean it to be a putdown to herself; she means it in the sense that, at some level, things really are that simple. And it's true: it's our excess intelligence that generates this sort of frothy foam on top of our coffee of life.

So we get the cappuccino of life.

Right. And cappuccino's too fancy. But I got into Dewey because I kept seeing casual mentions of him in people's writings. Then, when we were looking at schools for my oldest daughter, we got very interested in Montessori. I read Marie Montessori's writings, and she talks a lot about the ability of materials to communicate mathematical and scientific truths. She developed these boxes with balls of different sizes, and they looked freakishly like the Fluxkits. And I thought, "Is this just Montessori, or is it also true elsewhere in American progressive education?" So I started to look at Dewey's work on education, and found a photograph of another educational kit that looked exactly like a Fluxkit. The place where you really see the ghost of Dewey at work is when the artists use the term "experience" in their writings of the '60s. So that necessitated going back to look at other theories of experience, which is how I found David Michael Levin and Martin Heidegger, whose Being and Time is really a theory of experience. Subsequently, I learned that many of the artists were also reading Heidegger--albeit on the sly, because Heidegger then...well, I still get in trouble for using Heidegger now, because he's thought of as a Fascist. Well, he became a Fascist, but he still had some pretty amazing ways of thinking about experience. That's what made him such a great Fascist, in a sense, because Fascism is all about experience taken too far, to the masses, into this most dangerous place in the human soul. Nevertheless, Heidegger's enormously informative, and you see how both he and Dewey fit in with Fluxus. Of course, there are important distinctions between Dewey and Heidegger, which Fluxus Experience doesn't get into. Dewey's experience is in the service of democracy, and Heidegger's is definitely not. His is in the service of group feeling, which later became Fascistic.

It's interesting, though, that they go to opposite political ends starting from a similar set of basic concerns.

Well, one way to think about that is: experience, as I understand it, is a kind of connective tissue. It's the thing that connects me to you, because this cup is hot, or this nail is sharp, and all the associations with that nail or that cup are essentially issues of culture. At some basic level, there's a shared social experience. The difference between Heidegger and Dewey, I think, is what you do with that shared experience. In Dewey's case, you and I share a relationship to our physical environment, and when we develop empathy for each other through that shared experience, there's the possibility that we learn to care about each other as individuals. It's in the development of empathy, which is linked to experience, that we have democracy. Whereas in Heidegger, there's this notion that the tool reveals itself to you when it doesn't work--it has this kind of ontological truth, but that truth is immediately separated from itself. So our decisions to have the same relationship to that hammer that's not working are based on consensus--society is built on a shared view of itself. That sense of bringing the whole group along with you is completely absent in Dewey. So there's almost a religious affinity between these two philosophies, but from that point it really moves in very opposite directions. Certainly there were many ways to survive in Germany in those years, and there's a lot of debate about the extent to which Heidegger was or wasn't completely invested in National Socialism. To my mind, there's no reason not to read Heidegger, but it is interesting to think about these issues.

I'm thinking also of Wittgenstein, and how language fits into this business of the shared experience. For instance, we can say the cup is hot, but what does "hot" mean? How relative is that word, in terms of what it means to me, and what it means to you? We develop a sense of empathy through language, without a real certainty of what that language means.

Well, Wittgenstein was widely read by all those same people who were reading Dewey, and sneaking Heidegger in through the back door. And more work needs to be done on Wittgenstein and conceptual art; I don't know why we always go to this rigid semiotic model. Maybe it's a taste for clarity in some sense, because what was interesting about language for the artists of the '60s was its ambiguity.

My sense is that French theory in the '60s was simply more appealing. I think there was this hesitancy to go toward anything too Germanic--as the controversy over Stockhausen, in relationship to Fluxus, demonstrated.

It's interesting you mention that. I hadn't thought about Stockhausen that way, and it's fascinating. For people who don't know what we're referring to, we should explain that there was a big protest by Maciunas and some other members of the New York Fluxus group, including Flynt and Ay-O, against Stockhausen in New York in 1964--ostensibly on the grounds that he represented an egotistical, racist mindset. Until this moment, I hadn't really equated that with the fact of his being German...and of course it's connected. But all those people knew him in Germany--that's why he was so bowled over by that demonstration. They were friends; they worked together. Then he gets to New York and this hits the fan: "We hate you; you're racist!" He was very, very hurt by that; he couldn't believe it.

I can see why he was taken aback by that, because ostensibly Fluxus is such an international movement; it seemed as if it was bringing people together from so many countries in this harmonious communal effort. Yet in other areas of the art world in the 1960s, there was this nervousness about Germanic culture being too profoundly expressed. Pierre Boulez, for example, wrote his article "Schoenberg Is Dead," in an effort to divorce any of that musical practice from its German roots. I would bet some of that was lingering in the Stockhausen incident, as well.

There's this perception that because Fluxus was international, individual nationalities didn't play a role in how the artists dealt with each other. But it did, and continues to. You'll hear them saying, "Oh, you're so French" to Ben Vautier. When I was in Holland last week, a group of us were taking the bus back to the Utrecht Hilton; Takako Saito was there, and people were openly talking about her being Japanese. And I sat there thinking, "Omigod!" In today's art world, a roomful of artists simply would not talk about the ethnicity of one of the people present in the way these people were. It was appalling and refreshing at the same time--very strange. But all of these issues do come up in Fluxus: Wolf Vostell was considered too operatic, too German, to be a Fluxus artist, yet he's making work with Fluxus. So is he in, or is he out? It looks like a plurality, because the group has such incredible diversity built into it--there are gay, straight, and bisexual artists; there are Caucasian-American, African-American, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Czechoslovakian, and Lithuanian artists. I do think there's some sort of leveling effect where the artists get to a kind of commonality, but the notion that ethnicity, sexuality, or gender are non-issues within Fluxus is wrong. They're profound issues, and issues of quite a bit of debate and contestation among a group of people who love each other enough to stay together and duke it out for 40 years. So it's a contested social domain, and quite different from the sort of happy pluralism of postmodernism. That's an important missing piece of the puzzle, in how people see Fluxus. Yet it's all over the artists' letters to each other; the correspondence has a lot of material on this.
I'd be interested to know where your relationship with Fluxus comes from, because it's profound and long-term. I know of your performances going back to the 1980s.

Yeah, it's funny; I was thinking about that earlier today. I remember, as a freshman in 1971, telling the dean of my college that although I was getting a degree in music, I was really interested in the gray areas where the arts overlapped. And he just gave me this cold look and said, "Then you're going to be a dilettante." And I thought, "FU, buddy!" But for a long time I felt I had to keep my diverse interests on separate, parallel tracks. Then in around 1974, I read Cage's Silence, and started coming across all this work like your dad's and your mom's. And as it happened, one of my teachers lived in Vermont, and used to encounter your parents up there during various summers. So one time, this teacher came back with your father's 1969 anthology foew&ombwhnw [eds. note to trivia fans: an acronym for "freaked out electronic wizards and other marvelous bartenders who have no wings"] which was filled with these conceptual art pieces and bound to look like a Catholic missal, with the ribbon down the middle. I was just panting over it. And suddenly it dawned on me that I didn't have to keep these interests and disciplines separated; that there was a group of people out there who were willing to let these things overlap and intersect.

So that's why you like my father's essay "On Doing Too Much."

Exactly. As well as his whole notion of intermedia, and the "Boredom and Danger" essay. Anyway, for years I carried that book with me any time I traveled, because people would leave me alone if they saw me reading it. They just assumed I was praying! But discovering that book was great, because it gave me this unified sense about what was real and what wasn't. It was very liberating for me, on a personal as well as an artistic level, to realize these separations between disciplines are artificial; they can be taken down and the whole world will not collapse. It allowed me to do a lot of things I otherwise wouldn't have done, and to look at things like sound poetry, and text-sound work, and all this other stuff that fell right into the cracks.

But, you know, it still falls into the cracks. One of the most striking experiences for me has been the extent to which young artists are fundamentally free of these distinctions, but the art world still can't handle it. It's amazing. It's as if the whole past history of intermedia is erased from the critical discourse, so you wind up with wonderful artists--Ann Hamilton and all these people whose work I adore--who appear to come out of nowhere. Well, they don't come out of painting in 1995; they come out of this squirrelly '60s world of intermedia and mixed-media work. Yet you really don't have any sense of that--though, usually, through no fault of the artist. There are some exceptions, but most artists have a pretty fair-minded sense of acknowledging their debts to Fluxus. It just seems to have been written out by the scholars.


Alison Knowles (pregnant with twins) and Ben Vautier perform Two Inches by Robert Watts, New York, 1964. Photo by George Maciunas. Courtesy the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection.



Earlier, you mentioned your interest in Black Mountain College. As someone who teaches in an interdisciplinary program, Black Mountain has always been a model for us. Somebody was asking me recently to discuss the whole notion of collaboration as it related to that place, and eventually we came to the conclusion that the sloppiness of the whole situation--the fact that it was this organizational mess--allowed the most brilliant, coincidental things to happen there. Had it been a better-structured organization, it would not have generated the work that it did.

This brings up a very interesting thing I've been pondering lately: the power of Black Mountain came out of the fact that all the professors had been trained in traditional schools where they weren't allowed to do what they wanted to do. So Black Mountain College was this kind of liberated other. Many of the faculty were refugees from Europe, so they found themselves there as a kind of new community. They didn't know anybody in the United States and they were perfectly content to sit in rural North Carolina--for no money. It bends the mind; I mean, these people came from places like Berlin in the 1920s--maybe the most vital cultural context of the 20th century! But I think a lot of that creative spark came from their being somehow restricted in one place, and then brought into this place of collaboration. And I wonder whether that can be duplicated when you're bringing students in and having those freedoms at the outset, because then the students have nothing to reject. Maybe what you'll wind up with in your interdisciplinary art program is a bunch of fabulous painters! That's the reactive nature of young people, and the reactive nature of art: it's what you can't do that somehow stimulates you to do it.

Well, we've had graduates from the program go on to painting careers--and that doesn't bother us.

It doesn't? OK, that's interesting. Then is the objective of an interdisciplinary program strictly pedagogical?

I think it's as ideological as it is practical, and that has always been the case. It has always been a conceptually based program. We're interested in having students learn how the concepts manifest themselves in a variety of material forms, and as long as they get the concept part, we don't really care what the material output of their work is.

That's interesting, because this next book I'm working on is a history of experimental interdisciplinary arts education through a series of case studies on Black Mountain, the New School, Rutgers, and Cal Arts, each of which focuses on teacher-student relationships where an idea essentially jumps from one medium to the next. So you have Cage as a composer influencing poets, collagists, and performance artists at the New School; then Kaprow, who's in that class, translates this experiential notion into a whole interdisciplinary program at Cal Arts in the 1970s. One of the things I've been trying to understand through the work of Howard Gardner, who's an education theorist at Harvard, is the idea of multiple intelligences. As our society is expanding, we're producing more of these diverse intelligence forms, so that we have a musical intelligence, a kinesthetic intelligence, and so on--each essentially associated with different art forms. I've been trying to figure out what happens when those different intelligence forms cross-pollinate--that cross-modal brain activity you get when someone with verbal intelligence acts in the area of painting, and begins bridging these forms. I haven't got the answers yet, but it's interesting to me to think about interdisciplinary programs as places where the human mind is actually changing, where we're at the forefront of an almost biological, evolutionary leap. So instead of moving culture forward through the comparatively linear intelligences of, say, the visual, verbal, or mathematical, our minds are becoming more like a computer network where information resides in multiple points. Our intelligence now has to do with connecting those points, rather than inhabiting one of them. It's an almost cyborgian notion of the brain. It seems to me that these fundamental changes in intelligence have a place in art schools, because the creative use of the senses is what produces art; as our sensate intellectual worlds change, creativity marks those changes. A change in the style of painting is not something that happens only in the rarified realm of painting; it actually marks a shift in the way human intelligence relates to its world, and structures it materially, or practically. You can see this occurring in the Renaissance, so it's an issue that's not new in the modern era.

Well, one of the ways I've thought of it--and this is why I like your approach in Fluxus Experience--is that when you put that emphasis on experience, it grounds art in these sensual realities, rather than just the visual-verbal prioritization that western culture's locked into. One of the ways I think about interdisciplinary work is that it allows you to engage multiple senses, and each of these senses throws open a different window into consciousness.

And those senses never operate in isolation from each other, even though the western model of creativity has historically separated them, so that painting is seen, food is tasted, and music is heard. We're in a place now where we recognize that every sense is stimulated by every encounter, whether it's with a meal, a website, a performance, or a painting. Paintings are not purely visual, contrary to what Clement Greenberg would have had us believe. You stand in the gallery and you smell them; you see the artist's touch.

And you want to reach out and touch them--which of course is forbidden in museums.

Right. Yet it's a very basic, basic impulse. My daughter's terrible this way. We have a pretty big collection at home with all kinds of art--abstract painting, Pop, Fluxus, conceptual photography--and the kids are allowed to touch all of it. So when we go to the museums, my daughter goes right up to something and puts her finger on it, and the guards go out of their minds! But it just shows you the difference between living around art and artists, and having to encounter artworks in these proper containers that culture has devised for them. I understand that the velvet ropes are necessary, because you can't have 500,000 people touching the Seurat in the Art Institute. But what kid doesn't want to go up and touch that painting?

And see whether they can lick off those dots! Can't get much more experiential than that!

That's a wicked thought!

source: http://mouthtomouthmag.com/higgins.html

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Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art Presents A Spoken Word Exhibition

GATESHEAD.- From Friday 16 January, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art presents A Spoken Word Exhibition, composed only of verbal artworks. This exhibition will flow throughout the building as the works will be repeated by Baltic staff to the visitor on request.

Baltic staff will read the words, haikus or texts as written and instructed by 15 artists. Using only language the artworks are spoken and exchanged as a verbal gesture from one person to another, thus generating an exhibition that only last the time it takes to hear it.

A Spoken Word Exhibition is an exhibition of the same nature & material as that of the artworks that constitutes it, which are words. Using the simple premise of an artwork that can be spoken, curator Mathieu Copeland sets up a bridge between several generations of artists, with spoken works by major artists such as Lawrence Weiner, James Lee Byars, Yoko Ono and Vito Acconci alongside more recent voiced proposals from younger international figures such as Tris Vonna Michell and Mai-Thu Perret.

Alessandro Vincentelli, Acting Head of Programme at Baltic added: “It is very timely that Copeland’s work is being presented at Baltic from January. The exhibition has been programmed to run concurrently with two adventurous shows that question the role and form of an artwork; This new initiative, created around only spoken word, will run alongside two major exhibitions George Maciunas: Dreams of Fluxus and the major presentation of Yoko Ono’s work.

A Spoken Word is very much a contemporary exhibition that draws together artists that are committed to continuing this way of questioning the form of art, and places an emphasis on ‘experiencing’ an exchange rather than centring discussion on an object.”

The show includes simple word instructions from a tightly curated international list of artists (full list of artist available below). With this unconventional show the public are invited to select from the list of works which will then be performed by Baltic staff.

A Spoken Word Exhibition is an on-going & travelling exhibition curated by Mathieu Copeland. It has previously been presented at the Swiss Institute NY in November 2007 (part of Performa07), and TranzitDisplay in Prague in the spring of 2008.

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS
Vito Acconci, Fia Backström, Robert Barry, James Lee Byars, Nick Currie (aka Momus), Douglas Coupland, Karl Holmqvist, Maurizio Nannucci, Yoko Ono, Mai-Thu Perret, Emilio Prini, Tomas Vanek, Tris Vonna Michell, Lawrence Weiner, and Ian Wilson.

Mathieu Copeland, born in France in 1977, is a curator living in London who questions the conventional format of exhibitions. Recent exhibition includes A Choreographed Exhibition at La Ferme du Buisson (November/December 2008); L'Exposition Continue (the continuous exhibition) at Circuit & 1m3 in Lausanne (September/November 2008), and again The Saints, the films and music of Amy Granat in London (May 2008).

He also publishes artist films on DVDs, including films by Amy Granat, by Mai-Thu Perret, or again Arnaud Michniak.

Forthcoming exhibition include Voids, A Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris , France , February/March 2009.

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