Yoko Ono, A Box of Smile, 1971/1984 ReFlux Edition, plastic box inscribed in gold: "a box of smile y.o. '71." Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Acquisitions Fund; GM.989.12.5.

Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life, Grey Art Gallery, Sept. 9–Dec. 3, 2011

INTRODUCTORY TEXT

A truly international network of artists, composers, and designers that developed in the 1960s, Fluxus resists categorization as an art movement, collective, or group. It also defies traditional geographical, chronological, and medium-based approaches. Rather, Fluxus participants embrace a “do-it-yourself” mentality, fashioning their activities from quotidian experiences and blurring the boundaries between art and life. George Maciunas, Fluxus’s Lithuanian-born instigator, envisioned art as social process. He and other Fluxus artists created works that celebrate collaboration, the ephemeral, and the everyday—often inflected with a touch of playful anarchy. Aiming to circumvent both conventional aesthetics and the commercial art world, they urged both their colleagues and the public to approach life with a Fluxus attitude.

In keeping with this spirit, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life encourages viewers actively to interpret and respond to the works on view, and to explore art’s relationships with essential themes of human existence. Follow the provided map to locate the fourteen sections framed as questions, for example, “What Am I?,” “Happiness?,” “Health?,” “Freedom?,” “Danger?.” Featuring over a hundred objects, documents, videos, and ephemera, the show also foregrounds two Fluxus innovations: event scores and art-as-games-in-a-box, many of which were gathered into Fluxkits and sold at intentionally low prices via mail order or at artist-run stores. The events were even more accessible. Sometimes consisting of just one word—such as George Brecht’s “Exit,” in the section “Death?”—Fluxus events could be performed by anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Intended as provocations to “high” culture and increasing commodification of art, Fluxus works were meant to be picked up and handled, not simply looked at. Exhibiting Fluxus today highlights yet another question: How can we maintain the defiant and playful spirit in which these objects were made, while at the same time safeguarding and preserving them for future audiences?

Curated by Jacquelynn Baas, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life was organized by the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and is generously supported by Constance and Walter Burke, Class of 1944, the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund, and the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund. Additional support for the presentation at the Grey Art Gallery is provided by the Abby Weed Grey Trust; and the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends.


Art (What’s It Good For)?

What is art good for? This was a central question for Fluxus organizer George Maciunas, who devoted his life to analyzing the role of art throughout history and to proposing what it might be good for. For Maciunas, art at its best is part of the social process, as it was from prehistoric times to the Renaissance (no. 2). In modern times, it has become imbued with a unique aura and seen as something to be evaluated by specialists and collected by museums. Fluxus artists took up the task of re-embedding art within everyday life, picking up where Dada and Russian Constructivist artists left off after World War I. Maciunas and Fluxus colleagues George Brecht, Yoko Ono, and Robert Filliou observed:
Promote NON ART REALITY to be fully grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals. (George Maciunas, 1963)

Modes of apprehension: art, language, myth, science (each to be used sparingly, as needed, like food, water, sleep) . . . however, art remains within the universe of form, and what is beyond this universe, beyond dimensions, yet embodying them without conflict, is life. (George Brecht, 1961)

The natural state of life and mind is complexity. At this point, what art can offer . . . is an absence of complexity, a vacuum through which you are led to a state of complete relaxation of mind. After that you may return to the complexity of life again, it may not be the same, or it may be, or you may never return, but that is your problem. (Yoko Ono, 1966)
Art is what makes life more interesting than art. (Robert Filliou, n.d.)

One of the things—perhaps the most important thing—art is good for is interpreting life. Art is something humans “do,” on purpose, in order to generate mind-changing experiences in themselves and others. The sense of being present and engaged that art practice generates in both artist and viewer makes art very satisfying, no matter how it looks or sounds or smells or feels or tastes.


Change?

The goal of museums and archives is to preserve art for posterity by removing it from the hurly- burly of “life,” although we know that everything, including ourselves, is in a state of constant change. We may be able to affect the rate of change but not the fact of it.

It is much easier to grasp this reality intellectually than to realize and live it, but Fluxus invented some effective tools for accepting change in our lives. For example, embracing change

can be a lot more satisfying than trying to fight it. In his Flux Corsage (no. 17), Ken Friedman suggests acquiring some flower seeds, planting and nurturing them, and then giving the blossoms to someone you love. The plant will die eventually and so might your love. But neither will disappear. Their energy will have evolved into something else, as will yours.

Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi’s Water Music (no. 16) consists of a small bottle partly filled with water, which proposes a do-it-yourself art of change. Its label instructs:
1. Give the water still form
2. Let the water lose its still form

George Maciunas attempted to chart the changes modern humans have undergone in his Literate Man vs. Post-Literate Man (no. 14). Maciunas’s mind-diagrams depict the shift from Euclidean three-dimensional space, sequential time, and the Aristotelian hierarchy of the senses (with sight at the top and touch at the bottom) to “acoustic space whose boundary is nowhere & whose center is everywhere,” “sensory orchestration,” and “art as act.” His own contribution to the book Proposals for Art Education, for which Post-Literate Man was made, was “A Preliminary Proposal for 3-Dimensional System of Information Storage and Presentation,” intended to result in something like a printout of constantly changing reality, a concept that was realized some ten years after Maciunas’s death in the form of today’s Internet.

In 1962, George Brecht and Robert Watts developed the concept of “an ever-expanding universe of events,” which they dubbed “The Yam Festival” (Yam is May in reverse). It began with the mailing of event cards. Brecht said that he sent these “scores” out “like little enlightenments I wanted to communicate to my friends who would know what to do with them.” Brecht included the event score on view in this section, Three Aqueous Events, in his Maciunas- designed boxed publication Water Yam (no. 3).


Danger?

We fear what we have experienced, or have been taught to experience, as dangerous. Just being alive is dangerous, but being fearful does not help; in fact, it can be downright harmful. A classic example: a man is frightened by a piece of rope he mistakes for a snake. Once he sees it for what it is, his fear dissipates. The answer to the question “What shall I do about the snake?” is “Nothing, except learn to see it for what it is.”

From certain perspectives, danger can even be funny. In his event score Danger Music Number Seventeen, Dick Higgins addresses the question of danger head-on. Enacting it might express and thus dissipate your fear of danger, but it could also alarm your friends. They might choose to join in, of course—a group screaming session could be amusing.
George Maciunas turned danger into a game. In 1975, he published in his Flux Newsletter the rules of his personal danger-game, which he characterized as an “event in progress”:

FLUX COMBAT WITH NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY (& POLICE) BY GEORGE MACIUNAS (EVENT IN PROGRESS)

a) Attorney General’s arsenal of weapons: some 30 subpoenas to Maciunas and all his friends, interrogation of his friends, warrant for arrest of Maciunas, search warrants, 4 angry and frustrated marshals and policemen armed with clubs.

b) Maciunas’ arsenal of weapons: humorous, insulting and sneering letters to Attorney General, various disguises (gorilla mask, bandaged head, gas mask, etc.) . . . various unbreakable doors with giant cutting blades facing out, reinforced with steel pipe braces, camouflaged doors, dummy and trick doors and ceiling hatches . . . funny messages behind each door, real escape hatches and tunnels leading to other floors, vaults etc. various warning alarm systems . . . After termination of this combat (possibly flight from New York State) documentation of this event will be published by Maciunas (copies of letters, disguise photos, photos of various doors and hatches and photos of escape etc.)

Maciunas did in fact flee New York in 1976, taking refuge in a Massachusetts farmhouse, which he hoped to turn into an arts learning center. Examples of his “documentation” of Flux Combat are on view in this section (nos. 24 and 26), including an awesome example of what Maciunas described as “unbreakable doors with giant cutting blades facing out” (no. 25).
Maciunas’s door armed with huge steel paper-cutter blades suggests that one way to arm yourself against danger is to attempt to be even more dangerous. Another is to channel your fear of danger into socially beneficial pursuits like science or medicine or art, thus creating subsets of reality where you can exert a sense of mastery, taking your mind off danger. And then there is always the option of laughing at danger and watching it dissipate: seeing the snake for what it is.


Death?

I Ben I sign Death. (Ben Vautier, 1966)
The root of all fear is fear of death. Death’s paradox is that it underscores the potential of each moment by reminding us that, at another moment we cannot foresee, all of our moments will be gone. For Fluxus artists, art was an effective way not only to interpret life but also to acquire some perspective on death. Ben Vautier “signed” death, just as he signed nearly everything. Vautier thus declared himself the artist of death including, presumably, his own, exemplified in his Flux Suicide Kit (no. 30).

Perhaps the most poetic Fluxus “death” work is George Brecht’s event score from Water Yam (no. 3), consisting of one instruction: “EXIT.” Brecht generated a series of variations on this concept, including the “Word Event” for the 1966 Fluxfest in Prague: “A sign saying ‘Exit’ is put up on the stage. (Audience should understand that as a directive for them to leave.)” In his seven-minute Fluxfilm 10, Entrance—Exit (no. 29), an “Entrance” sign is followed by a bright white light that gradually darkens, followed by an “EXIT” sign, then white light again.
Emmett Williams reported this brief conversation between George Maciunas and a nurse at University Hospital, Boston, in early May 1978:

“It’s no worse than being born.”
“What?”
“Dying.”

Maciunas died on May 9. He had served as both producer and distributor of Fluxfilms,
and one wonders whether Brecht’s Entrance—Exit may not have inspired or at least influenced Maciunas’s end-of-life observation.


Freedom?

Always promoting Fluxus as a collective, George Maciunas must have been delighted when fellow Fluxus member Paul Sharits sent him “a bunch of box events” that, Sharits explained, had been made by Jack Coke’s sculpture students. “So credit for that should go to ‘St. Cloud State College Farmers’ Cooperative’ (most of the kids up here are from farms & thought it would be nice to label themselves as such . . . weird kids, eh?!).” “Jack Coke’s Farmer’s Co-op” is thus listed as the artist of record for Human Flux Trap (no. 39), a Maciunas-designed Fluxus edition from 1969 consisting of a blue plastic box containing a stainless-steel trap set with a fake jewel. The title implies the trap of desire, the cause of human suffering in which “we are at once the trapper and the trapped,” according to The Way of Zen, a popular book of the time by Alan Watts.

To overcome desire—for things, for fame, even for safety—is to be truly free. What role can art play in this process? It can forgo its relationship with “thingness,” as Geoffrey Hendricks perhaps intended to suggest with his own trap—a large mousetrap baited with a tube of red paint (no. 40). Hendricks’s Sky Laundry (Sheet) #3 (no. 42)—a sheet painted to resemble a blue sky dotted with white clouds and attached to a clothesline—was another way to pull both himself and his viewers away from the materiality of paint and into the realm of the sky, which represents openness and freedom.

“To fly is to fall. To fall is to fly. Joe Jones,” reads the typewritten instruction on a 19th- century illustration of a man in a flying machine (no. 41) that Maciunas used in the creation of Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi’s fluxcalendar (no. 106). Failure, it implies, is a form of flying, and fear of failure is the primary impediment to creative freedom.


God?

On the 25th of December Jesus was born. or so the christians say.
the jews deny it.
the moslems are two minds about it.
the budhists don’t care.
Nor do the communists and the atheists.
As for the artists—
Well what the artists believe is another story. (Robert Filliou, 1963)

“Shall we call [our concerts] ‘Fluxus,’ for the movement, not the sect?” Dick Higgins (excommunicated from Fluxus at the time) queried a fellow Fluxus artist. “I’m afraid that, unlike Maciunas, I shall always be an atheist.” In this 1966 letter, Higgins implies that “Pope” Maciunas took the parallels between art and religion all too seriously. This was a severe criticism, for Fluxus artists evidently believed that God’s main purpose is to be mocked. God and religion are referenced frequently in Fluxus artworks, such as Ben Vautier’s God (no. 43), an empty wine bottle. Its accompanying text, “If God is everywhere he is also in this bottle,” provides a humorous commentary, whereas his Fluxbox Containing God (no. 44)—a plastic box glued shut—suggests both God’s inaccessibility and Vautier’s own omniscience (Ben “signed” God).

Geoffrey Hendricks’s Flux Reliquary (no. 46) and Carla Liss’s Sacrament Fluxkit (no. 47) take different approaches. Hendricks’s satirical “Flux Relics” include “Sweat of Lucifer from the heat of Hell,” “Fragment of rope by which Judas Iscariot hung himself,” “Holy Shit from diners at the Last Supper,” and other objects not that far removed from the relics found in churches around the world. Liss’s poetic Sacrament Fluxkit, on the other hand, consists of a box that is labeled on the inside lid with everyday sources of the “holy” water in the nine specimen bottles: “well, faucet, pool, rain, brook, lake, snow, river, sea.” Liss implies that it’s up to us; if we want, we can choose to have a sacramental experience each time we encounter water.


Happiness?

The question of happiness is really two questions: what is happiness and what does it take to be happy? Fluxus artists weighed in on both. Regarding the former, consider Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi’s Disappearing Music for Face from the 1966 Proposed Program for a Fluxfest in Prague:

Performers begin the piece with a smile and during the duration of the piece, change the smile very gradually to no-smile. Conductor indicates the beginning with a smile and determines the duration by his example, which should be followed by the orchestra.

Disappearing Music for Face is included in this section both as a film (no. 57) and as a flipbook, Fluxus’s low-cost, do-it-yourself version of a movie (no. 56). Happiness, Shiomi suggests, is both “catching” and fleeting, to be enjoyed while it lasts.

As for how happiness is conveyed, consider George Maciunas’s Flux Smile Machine (nos. 51 and 52). Ostensibly a device for converting a non-smile into a smile, his somewhat malevolent “smile machine” consists of a spring-loaded device in a box whose label features a grimacing face. The effect of the machine itself would presumably be more artificial, perhaps even horrific.

A related work, Maciunas’s Grotesque Face Mask (no. 53), is a Fluxus edition from c. 1976. Happiness is manufactured, Maciunas suggests; it must be made to happen, sometimes painfully. Yet he simultaneously implies the opposite by ironically suggesting that, to be “real,” happiness must come from within. Yoko Ono conveys a similar message with gentler humor in her Box of Smile (nos. 54 and 55). “I would like to see the sky machine on every corner of the street instead of the Coke machine,” Ono once said. “We need more skies than Coke.” Along those lines, Bici Forbes’s Stress Formula (no. 50) proposes that we need jokes more than drugs. A vitamin bottle whose label instructs “Take one capsule every four hours, for laughs,” Rx: Stress Formula contains clear pills holding tiny rolled-up slips of paper, presumably printed with humorous messages.

Scientists have noted that simply raising the corners of one’s mouth tends to generate sensations of happiness. Fluxus artists propose that happiness is something we make for ourselves, not the result of something that happens to us. Happiness can be yours; it is a question of noticing . . . the sky, your friend’s smile, your smile.


Health?

From a Fluxus point of view, even illness can be a springboard for humor. George Maciunas’s Solo for Sick Man (no. 58) provides an opportunity to transform the state of your health into a musical score. Bodily/medical events (some associated with asthma, with which Maciunas was afflicted) are listed in apparent random order in the left-hand column—“cough . . . spit, gargle . . . blow wet nose, swallow pill . . . use nebulizer-vaporiser . . . drop pills over floor”—while the sequence and number of seconds each act is performed are arrayed to the right as blank boxes to be filled in. This “solo” (one pictures Maciunas performing alone), which consists for the most part of involuntary acts, is here “scored” like an “event”—a work of art.

Very different is Maciunas’s Fluxsyringe (no. 62), a multiple from c. 1972 consisting of a large metal cylinder with a pump handle terminating in a square of hypodermic needles. In a letter to collector Hans Sohm, Maciunas described his planned multiple as “a giant syringe with 64 needles.” It brings to mind the sixty-four kua of the ancient Chinese I Ching, suggesting that by taking appropriate action, however painful, we can transform, if not cure, troublesome medical conditions. In fact, Maciunas’s example has only fifty-six needles. On a more basic level, Fluxsyringe may simply embody the need to take our medicine for whatever ails us—and there are quite a lot of potential ailments, as the plethora of needles implies.

With Maciunas’s help, a team of three Japanese artists calling themselves “Hi Red Center” produced Fluxclinic: Record of Features and Feats at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on June 4, 1966 (no. 59).

In a letter to Ben Vautier, Maciunas wrote:
Hotel event was a clinic in a room, where we measured the visitors for their head volume (head to pail of water) volume of mouth, weight of 1 minute saliva—some 40 bizarre measurements . . . it went very well, for some 30–40 minutes.
Fluxclinic was a version of One Shelter Plan, which Hi Red Center had conducted two years previously at the Imperial Hotel in Hibiya, Japan. Participants were measured for a custom- made fallout shelter, a theme especially resonant in Japan. The American version was more light- hearted, with cathartic overtones of playing doctor.


Love?

Love is a fundamental human need. George Brecht’s 1961 event score titled Three Gap Events comments on love and loss by evoking first, a neon sign with missing letters; second, “between two sounds”; and, third, “meeting again.”
Love is perhaps most strongly felt in absence. This may be the message of Milan Knížák and Ken Friedman’s Fluxus Heart Shirt (no. 64), which has a heart shape cut out of its breast pocket. The title may also have been intended as a play on “hair shirt,” worn to induce self- inflicted penitential pain.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Bici Forbes turned their divorce into a performance about the end of love, or at least marriage. Flux Divorce Box (no. 67) defies the injunction “What God has joined together let no man put asunder” in hilarious, if not hysterical, terms.

In a different vein, Takako Saito’s Heart Box (no. 63) suggests the omnipresence of love. A paper box whose sides display images of the family of Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles is filled with smaller paper boxes, which are in turn covered with drawings of objects and scenes from the world. Its lid features a large red heart and is inscribed on the inside: “Dear Dick, Alison, Hannah, Jessie, This is my love to you and all others. Takako.”

Along the same lines, Milan Knížák writes in his piece Enforced Symbioses (no. 66): “Let us try to think of two as one, of three as one, of many as one.” According to him, love is the emotional experience of interconnectedness.


Nothingness?

The question of nothingness has long been a focus of Western philosophy. It is also at the core of Asian philosophy, from Daoism to Zen. To the European-American mindset, emptiness or nothingness suggests vacuum or disappearance (see the Death? section); for the Daoist/Buddhist mindset, on the other hand, nothingness is a fertile source of everything that exists. “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form,” insists the Heart Sutra, the most popular Buddhist scripture.
Nothingness was a major theme for Daoist- and Zen-influenced Fluxus artists and their friends, permeating much of their work. The message-in-a-bottle of Ben Vautier’s God (no. 43), for example, can be read as: nothing is God, and vice-versa. George Brecht addressed the question of nothingness in similar terms in his 1961 score titled Two Elimination Events, on view in this section. The origin of Brecht’s interpretation can be found in chapter 11 of the Daodejing:

We throw clay to shape a pot,
But the utility of the clay pot is a function of The nothingness inside it.

The text implies that the mind’s “utility” or creativity is a function of whether we can “empty” it of preconceptions and distractions. Brecht’s Two Elimination Events similarly moves us from objective to contemplative meaning.

Nam June Paik’s Zen for Film (nos. 76 and 77) is perhaps the best-known Fluxus work to address the question of nothingness. Issued as a Fluxus edition in 1965 in the form of a film canister containing approximately twenty minutes of clear sixteen-millimeter film leader, it was also editioned by Maciunas as a short loop for inclusion in Flux Year Box 2 (no. 6).

Paik invited John Cage and Merce Cunningham to see Zen for Film, about which Cage later wrote, “The mind is like a mirror; it collects ‘dust the problem is to remove the dust.’ ‘Where is the mirror? Where is the dust?’ In this case the dust is on the lens of the projector and on the blank developed film itself. ‘There is never nothing to see.’”
This statement recalls Cage’s observation “Art is everywhere; it’s only seeing which stops now and then.” In contrast with Cage’s emphasis on perception, Paik evidently intended Zen for Film to encourage viewers to empty their minds and allow an awareness of nothingness to arise.

As Dick Higgins, who liked to refer to nothingness as “invitingness,” put it: “Starting with nothing is a good way to get somewhere.”


Sex?

Sex rivals nothingness as a favorite topic of Fluxus artists. Concerning his Fluxpost (no. 79), Robert Watts wrote:
I decided . . . to make my own postage stamps since most stamps are not very interesting any more . . . In making the stamps I found I was interested, evidently, in whiskey, W. C. Fields, girls, sheet music, gas cans, sex, pliers, pencils, breasts, alphabet letters and a number of other things. Some of the stamps have been declared pornographic, a subject that is of some interest to me. I wonder if anything really is.

Watts’s question about whether anything “really is” pornographic was also addressed by Robert Filliou and Daniel Spoerri. Their “Flux Post Card,” from the series MONSTERS ARE INOFFENSIVE (no. 80), is captioned: “Men call pubic hair pornography but / monsters are inoffensive.” As these stamps and postcards illustrate, Fluxus artists challenged public mores and standards regarding sexual behavior. If, from our 21st-century perspective, some of their works in this vein appear sophomoric, bear in mind that Hugh M. Hefner published the first installment of his Playboy Philosophy in the December 1962 issue of Playboy magazine, and the year 1965 marked the advent of both the miniskirt and the widespread availability of oral contraceptives in the United States. The ’60s aura of sexual “freedom” evidently made some male Fluxus artists a bit giddy.

Perhaps the most penetrating critique of pervasive attitudes toward sex at this time was Yoko Ono’s event score Cut Piece, first performed in Kyoto in 1964. Its instruction states simply: “Cut.” In her book Grapefruit, Ono added the following gloss:

It is usually performed by Yoko Ono coming on the stage and in a sitting position, placing a pair of scissors in front of her and asking the audience to come up on the stage, one by one, and cut a portion of her clothing (anywhere they like) and take it. The performer, however, does not have to be a woman.

This superficially simple concept turned out, when performed, to be emotionally charged with violent and sexual overtones. Its most provocative element is contained in the last sentence of Ono’s description: “The performer, however, does not have to be a woman.”


Staying Alive?

FLUXUS way of life is 9 am to 5 pm working socially constructive and useful work—earning your own living, 5 pm to 10 pm—spending time on propagandizing your way of life among other idle artists & art collectors and fighting them, 12 pm to 8 am sleeping (8 hours is enough).

So George Maciunas instructed twenty-year-old Tomas Schmit, who had decided that he could be more useful to Fluxus by not working. “Usefull [sic] by doing what?” Maciunas asked, rhetorically. “What were you doing the past-week? Fluxus should become a way of life not a profession. . . . I am very seriously suggesting that you complete your University studies. Study some totally non-art subject like science. OK?”

Fluxus had more than its share of nonprofessional artists: George Brecht was a chemist who worked as a consultant for companies including Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Mobil Oil. Robert Filliou earned a master’s degree in economics at UCLA and was sent to Korea as a United Nations advisor after the Korean War to help write the new constitution. Maciunas earned his living as a graphic designer and eventually became a real-estate developer.

Food served as both frequent subject and medium for Fluxus artists, and meals were occasions for Fluxus performances, such as Maciunas’s New Year’s Eve Flux-Feast on December 31, 1969. He devised a menu that included: “Geoff Hendricks: clouds—mashed potatoes in 10 flavors (vanilla, almond, orange, mint etc.); Bici Hendricks: colored bread (purple etc.); Dick Higgins: gentle jello—tasteless jello (gelatin & water); Milan Knížák: sausage log cabin; Alison Knowles: shit [bean] porridge and Shit Manifesto; Elaine Allen: eel soup (with whole eel in fish bowl); George Maciunas (with Barbara Moore): eggs containing: vodka, fruit brandy, wine, noodles, cheese and coffee jello; . . . Joan Mathews: black foods; Hala & Veronica Pietkiewicz: shit cookies; Frank Rycyk, Jr.: unopenable nuts in openable paper enclosures; chocolate inside nut shells; Paul Sharits: jello in their own paper packs and wrappings; Yoshimasa Wada: vitamin platter and salad soup; Bob Watts: shooting with gun candies into guests’ mouths.” Clearly, Fluxus artists ignored the injunction not to play with your food.

About his “snare pictures”—photographs or the actual remains of meals glued to tabletops—Daniel Spoerri wrote:
It’s a question of territory. Because I had lost my territory since childhood, and even during childhood, I never had a territory . . . I was a Romanian Jew, evangelical in an orthodox country, whose father was dead, without being certain that he was really dead. I swear to you, the first things I glued down were all that, that feeling.
Spoerri’s snare pictures, like Meal Variation no. 2, Eaten by Marcel Duchamp from 31 Variations on a Meal (no. 89), nurtured his friends and memorialized the event, thus “snaring” that feeling—in this case, of being fatherless, homeless, and without sustenance.


Time?

“I must organize my time very efficiently—that’s part of FLUXUS-way of life,” George Maciunas wrote in 1963. Obsessed with time, Maciunas personified the motto: So much to do, so little time. His works often emphasize both the effects of time and the arbitrariness of measuring it— themes that became a Fluxus leitmotif, from Ben Vautier’s “signing” time (no. 97) to the many Fluxus versions of altered clocks and watches (nos. 99, 103, 104, and 105) to elaborate records of global events, such as the Fluxus edition of Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi’s Spatial Poem No. 3, a fluxcalendar (no. 106).
One of nine separately scored “global events” instigated by Shiomi between 1965 and 1975, fluxcalendar consists of forty-three leaves. Maciunas suggested that these be bolted to a strip of cowhide so that the sheets could “fall,” like leaves from a tree. Instructions sent to participants framed time not as linear but as movement toward a center, as though events in time simply respond to gravity: “The phenomenon of a fall is actually a segment of a movement towards the center of the earth. This very moment countless objects are falling. Let’s take part in this centripetal event.”
Robert Filliou contributed his version of the so-called “fall” of man: “My effort about this event consisted in trying to grasp what FALL means in relation to human beings. My Proposition: When man first stood up, he fell.” To illustrate Filliou’s “proposition,” Maciunas appropriated a diagram of the musculature of a standing and reclining baby.
Marianne Filliou’s contribution reads: “My most intentional effort to make something fall occurred between 7 and 10 am, Jan. 14, 1961. What finally fell was my daughter Marcelle Filliou.” To illustrate her statement, Maciunas chose an Indian sculpture of a standing woman giving birth. The emerging child has its hands clasped over its head, as though diving into the stream of time.


What Am I?

Ontology, or the study of the nature of being, asks how we fit into the universe—which is perhaps the biggest question of all. Fluxus proposed many answers. According to popular wisdom, we are defined by what we do; this is often thought to be especially true of artists. George Maciunas, on the other hand, was a firm believer in the uselessness—indeed, the harmfulness—of a strong sense of identity, in terms of one’s role in the world.

Maciunas’s attempts to repress artists’ egos were only moderately effective; yet it is often difficult to identify the creators of Fluxus works. For example, Robert Watts’s Fluxfilm Trace No. 22 (no. 108) consists of X-ray footage of a person eating and speaking, said to have been fished out of Watts’s dentist’s trash. So is Watts the artist? Or is his dentist the artist? Or is it Maciunas, who incorporated the rescued snippet into his Fluxfilms?
Maciunas’s packaging and design provided a distinctive identity for Fluxus editions like Watts’s Fingerprint (no. 114), a white plastic box containing white plaster of Paris marked with a black fingerprint; or the version of George Brecht’s Games and Puzzles entitled Name Kit (no. 112), which contains an assortment of small objects along with the injunction to “spell your name.”

Maciunas adapted Brecht’s concept for his own name-kit boxes—for example, Gift Box for John Cage: Spell Your Name with These Objects (no. 113). John Cage could, in fact, have spelled his name with the first letters of the things in Maciunas’s box, which contains items such as a (pine) cone, acorn, glass (bottle stopper), and egg. Brecht was less literal-minded, or perhaps more evolved: he left open the answer to the question of the relationship between your name (and by implication you) and the things in the box—an approach that highlights questions of naming and categorization.

Maciunas, in contrast, was a maniacal categorizer, as exemplified by his Excreta Fluxorum (nos. 110 and 111)—carefully labeled boxes of animal excrement ranging from caterpillar and grasshopper to turtle and iguana to lion and buffalo. These sample turds certainly look authentic, and one pictures Maciunas scavenging manure at the Central Park Zoo, much as Watts scavenged trash at his dentist’s office. Excreta Fluxorum is more interesting than one might expect. If we are what we eat, are we also what we excrete? And, as always with Maciunas, there is a zinger: if you examine every compartment, you’ll eventually come upon a white marble labeled “unicorn (unicornis fantasticus).” Is this just another one of Maciunas’s jokes, or is there a message here?


WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION

Art (What’s It Good For)?

EVENT 1
La Monte Young, 1961
Composition 1961 #10
Draw a straight line and follow it.

1. “M. K.” [Milan Knížák], Czech, born 1940 U.S.A.
Manuscript statement, c. 1972
Ink on paper, 13 x 8 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Dr. Abraham M. Friedman; GM.986.80.150

2. Various artists
An Anthology, 1963
Paperbound book, 7 3/4 x 8 7/8 x 3/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.120.1–4 Full Title: An Anthology of chance operations concept art anti-art indeterminacy improvisation meaningless work natural disasters plans of action stories diagrams Music poetry essays dance constructions mathematics compositions by George Brecht, Claus Bremer, Earle Brown, Joseph Byrd, John Cage, David Degener, Walter De Maria, Henry Flynt, Yoko Ono, Dick Higgins, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Terry Jennings, Dennis, Ding Dong, Ray Johnson, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Maxfield, Robert Morris, Simone Morris, Nam June Paik, Terry Riley, Diter Rot, James Waring, Emmett Williams, Christian Wolff, La Monte Young. La Monte Young and Jackson Mac Low, Editors; George Maciunas, Designer (New York: La Monte Young and Jackson Mac Low, 1963). Download available: http://www.ubu.com/historical/young/index.html

3. George Brecht, American, 1926–2008
Water Yam, 1963
Wooden box containing paper cards printed with event scores, 1 3/4 x 9 5/8 x 8 7/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.21

4. Various artists
Fluxus I, c. 1964, later assembling by Jean Brown
Wooden box containing paperbound book of interleaved pages and inserts with works by various artists fastened with three metal nuts-and-bolts, 8 5/8 x 9 1/2 x 2 3/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund; GM.987.44.1
Contains works by Ay-O, George Brecht, Stanley Brouwn, Robert Filliou, Brion Gysin, Sohei Hashimoto, Dick Higgins, Joseph John Jones, Alison Knowles, Takehisa Kosugi, Shigeko Kubota, Gyorgy Ligeti, Jackson Mac Low, Nam June Paik, Benjamin Patterson, Takako Saito, Tomas Schmit, Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi, Ben Vautier, Robert Watts, Emmett Williams, LaMonte Young

5. Various artists
Flux-Kit, “B” copy, 1965
Black vinyl attaché case containing works by various artists; “FLUXKIT” screenprinted in white on lid, 4 7/8 x 17 1/2 x 11 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Contains: George Brecht, Water Yam, Robert Watts, Events, Mieko Shiomi, Events, Ben Patterson, Instruction No. 2, Robert Watts, Rocks, Marked by Wgt., George Maciunas, Fresh Goods from the East, Nam June Paik, Zen for Film, George Brecht, Games & Puzzles / Bread Puzzle, Brecht, Games & Puzzles / Inclined Plane Puzzle / Ball Puzzle / Swim Puzzle, Dick Higgins, Invocations of Canyons and Boulders for Stan Brackage, Ben Vautier, Fluxholes, Joe Jones, A Favorite Song, Ay-O, Finger Box, Giuseppe Chiari, La Strada, Mieko Shiomi, Endless Box, Alison Knowles, Bean Rolls, Ben Vautier, Dirty Water, Mieko Shiomi, Water Music, Emmett Williams, Alphabet Poem, Fluxus Newspaper #3, March 1964, cc Valisee TRanglE

6. Various artists
Flux Year Box 2, 1966
Five-compartment wooden box containing works by various artists; “FLUX YEAR BOX 2” screenprinted in black on lid, 3 3/8 x 8 x 8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund; GM.987.44.2
Contains works by Eric Andersen, George Brecht, John Cavanaugh, Willem de Ridder, Robert Filliou, Albert M. Fine, Ken Friedman, Hi Red Center, John Lennon, Frederic Lieberman, Claes Thure Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, James Riddle, Paul Jeffrey Sharits, Bob Sheff, Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi, Vera Spoerri, Roland Topor, Stanley Vanderbeek, Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell, Yoshimasa Wada, Robert Watts

7. Robert Filliou, French, 1926–1987
Ample Food for Stupid Thought (New York: Something Else Press), 1965
Ninety-three postcards (including title card) with questions printed on them, such as, “Why did you do that?” “Was it a dream you had, or a vision?” “What do you laugh at?,” 5 x 7 in. each Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.31

8. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Theater of Total Art (Theatre d’Art Total), 1967/1969
White plastic box with printed label containing thirty-one cards with comments on art in French and (mostly) English, 1/2 x 5 x 4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.407

9. Takehisa Kosugi, Japanese, born 1938
Events, 1964/1987 Reflux Edition
Black plastic box with clear lid and paper label, containing event scores, 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 4 3/4 in. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Purchased through the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund; GM.989.12.2

10. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Propositions for Art (Propositions Pour l’Art), 1966, modified 1970
Metal desk painted black with white enamel lettering and dictionary: Larousse Elementaire (1955), 58 x 35 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Jan and Ingeborg van der Marck; GM.980.290
Note: This is a unique piece given by Maciunas in 1964 to Ben Vautier, who entitled it Telephone Book.

11. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Encyclopedia of World Art, 1964
Black-bound telephone book stamped “Encyclopedia of World Art,” 11 1/4 x 9 1/2 x 3 7/8 in. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

12. La Monte Young, American, born 1935
Compositions 1961, 1963
Staple-bound booklet, 3 1/2 x 3 5/8 in.
Harvard Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection: Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore/Bound & Unbound; M26446.33
Note: Each page of Compositions 1961 repeats Composition 1960 #10 to Bob Morris—“Draw a straight line and follow it”—along with various dates in 1961 when Young performed this piece.


Change?

EVENT 2
Yoko Ono, 1955
Lighting Piece
Light a match and watch till it goes out.

EVENT 3
George Brecht, 1961
Three Aqueous Events
• ice
• water
• steam

13. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Prospectus for Fluxus Yearboxes—Flux Definition, 1962
Offset lithograph, 8 x 8 1/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection; GM.979.180

14. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Literate Man vs. Post-Literate Man with Contemporary Man, c. 1969
Mechanical for Robert Watts, George Maciunas, et al., Proposals for Art Education (University of California, Santa Cruz, 1970), 21 1/8 x 17 1/2 in.
University of California Santa Cruz Library Special Collections; NX280. M63 1970

15. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Ageing Men Fluxpost, n.d.
Sheets of black-and-white headshots numbered 1–42 on gummed, perforated paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.162

16. Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi, Japanese, born 1938
Water Music, 1964
Glass, plastic, rubber, and paper, 3 3/8 x 1 3/8 x 1 in.
Harvard Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection: Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore/Bound & Unbound; M26446.24
Note: Label text reads, “Water Music by Chieko Shiomi 1. Give the water still form 2. Let the water lose its still form. Fluxwater.”

17. Ken Friedman, American, born 1949
A Flux Corsage, 1966–76
Clear plastic box with paper label on lid, containing seeds, 3/8 x 3 5/8 x 4 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.40

18. Yoko Ono, American, born 1933
Painting to Be Stepped On, winter 1960, displayed 2011 by permission of the artist “Leave a piece of canvas or finished painting on the floor or in the street.”

19. Yoko Ono, American, born 1933
Fluxfilm No. 14, One [Match], 1966
Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 5:07 min. Camera: Peter Moore


Danger?

EVENT 4
Dick Higgins, 1962
Danger Music Number Seventeen
Scream! ! Scream! ! Scream! ! Scream! ! Scream! ! Scream! !

20. Robert Filliou, French, 1926–1987
Optimistic Box No. 1, 1968 (published Remscheid, Germany: VICE-Versand)
Wood box with brass hinges and clasps, stone, offset lithograph on paper labels, 4 1/2 x 4 3/8 x 4 1/4 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1992; 1992.134 Exterior label text: “OPTIMISTIC BOX no. 1 / thank god for modern weapons”
Interior label text: “we don’t throw weapons at each other any more / Robert Filliou”

21. Jock Reynolds, American, born 1947
Prototype for Potentially Dangerous Electrical Household Appliance, 1969
Hinged clear plastic box with label, containing two-headed plug, plastic sheet, 5/8 x 4 3/4 x 4 in. Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Gift of Jock Reynolds in memory of Beatrice B. Reynolds, 1993; 1993.16.1–2

22. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Burglary Fluxkit, 1971
Seven-compartment clear plastic box with black-and-white printed label featuring a drawing of several hardware tools and the words “BURGLARY FLUXKIT BY GEORGE MACIUNAS”; contains seven keys, including a roller-skate key, 1 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.164

23. George Brecht, American, 1926–2008
Barrel Bolt, c. 1962–63
Two blocks of wood painted white, attached to each other on the back with metal braces; on the front, a silver-colored metal barrel bolt “locking” the two pieces together, 5 1/2 x 9 1/8 x 1 1/2 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

24. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Safe Door from Flux Combat with New York State Attorney (and Police), c. 1970–75
Gelatin silver print, 63 1/8 x 38 5/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

25. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Giant Cutting Blades Door from Flux Combat with New York State Attorney (and Police), c. 1970–75
Door with metal blades, 77 3/4 x 37 x 8 1/2 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

26. Peter Moore, American, 1932–1993
Untitled (George Maciunas behind door, face hidden by mask), 1975 Photograph mounted on board, 19 1/2 x 29 3/4 in.
5Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the artist; GM.978.209

27. John Cale, Welsh, born 1942
Fluxfilm, No. 31, Police Car, 1966
Silent color film transferred to DVD, 1:25 min.


Death?

EVENT 5
George Brecht, 1961
Word Event
• EXIT

28. George Brecht, American, 1926–2008
Exit, 1961, realized as sign c. 1962–63
Metal sign mounted on painted wood with metal screws, 3 1/2 x 11 1/8 x 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

29. George Brecht, American, 1926–2008
Fluxfilm No. 10, Entrance—Exit, 1966
Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 1:25 min.

30. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
A Flux Suicide Kit, 1963
Seven-compartment clear plastic box with label, containing matches, razor, fishhook, rope, electrical plug, shard of broken glass, straight pin, and a small metal ball, 1 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.235

31. Milan Knížák, Czech, born 1940
Killed Book, 1972
Paperback book pierced with what look like bullet holes, 8 x 5 1/2 x 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.149
Note: Book published in Prague by Mlada Fronta in 1954; title translates as “They loved their nation,” subtitled, “Of the lives of young communists who fell in battle for homeland.”

32. Jiří Valoch, Czech, born 1946
Little Red Book, n.d.
Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book bound in red plastic with hole drilled through it,
3 3/4 x 2 5/8 x 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of the Friedman Family; KF.986.80.399

33. Robert Filliou, French, 1926–1987
Optimistic Box No. 4 and 5, 1968 (published Remscheid, Germany: VICE-Versand)
Ceramic piggy bank, paper labels, and offset lithograph, 4 3/8 x 6 x 3 7/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1992; 1992.137 Text, right side: “OPTIMISTIC BOX No. 4 and 5 / one thing I learned / since I was born” Text, left side: “that I must die / since I was born / Robert Filliou”

34. Jean Dupuy, French, born 1925
ICI J. / JEAN, c. 1988
Acrylic on canvas, 13 x 8 in.
Stamped and inscribed on verso: YPUDU 88.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Emily Harvey; GM.988.31.6

35. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
U.S.A. Surpasses All Genocide Records, c. 1966
Offset lithograph, 21 3/8 x 34 5/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.167

36. Fluxus Editorial Council [Geoffrey Hendricks]
V TRE Extra, “Maciunas Dies” issue, 1979
Offset lithographs, four double-sided pages, 15 x 11 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.34A–D


Freedom?

EVENT 6
Yoko Ono, 1964
Breath Piece
• Breathe.

EVENT 7
Yoko Ono, 1963
Fly Piece
• Fly.

37. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Living Flux Sculpture, 1966
Clear plastic box with label on lid, containing a dead fly, 3/8 x 3 5/8 x 4 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.234

38. Ken Friedman, American, born 1949 Mandatory Happening, 1972
Black plastic box with label on lid, containing a slip of paper that reads “Mandatory Happening / You will, having looked at this page, / either decide to read it or you will not. / Having made your decision, the happening is now over. / KF 1966,” 5/8 x 3 7/8 x 4 3/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

39. Jack Coke’s Farmer’s Co-op
Human Flux Trap, 1969, Fluxus Edition announced 1967
Plastic box containing metal trap with plastic jewel, 1 7/8 x 3 7/8 x 4 5/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

40. Geoffrey Hendricks, American, born 1935
2 aRt traps “A,” 1978
Trap with paint tube, 1 3/8 x 4 3/8 x 7 1/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

41. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
To fly is to fall. To fall is to fly. Joe Jones, c. 1972
Offset lithograph, 5 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

42. Geoffrey Hendricks, American, born 1931
Sky Laundry (Sheet) #3, 1966–72
Acrylic on cotton with rope and wooden clothespins, 44 7/8 x 77 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Jean Brown; GM.978.207


God?

43. Ben Vautier, French, born 1945
God, 1961
Glass bottle with label inscribed “God” in pencil, 11 7/8 x 3 3/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

44. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Fluxbox Containing God, c. 1966
Glued-shut plastic box with label, 5/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1995; 1995.97

45. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Untitled (Dispenser of the 23rd Psalm), 1960–61
Cast-iron string dispenser emitting metal tape measure with typewriting on paper, 4 7/8 x 6 3/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Text on tape: “LORD IS MY SHEPARD [sic] STOP. I SHALL NOT WANT STOP HE MAKETH ME TO”

46. Geoffrey Hendricks, American, born 1935
Flux Reliquary, 1970
Seven-compartment clear plastic box with label on lid and on underside of lid identifying items (relics) in each compartment: turd, pebble in clear capsule, pen nib, white rubber band, nail paring in clear capsule, little brass nails in capsule, and fragment of melted yellow plastic, 3 5/8 x 4 3/4 x 1 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.79

47. Carla Liss, American, born 1944
Sacrament Fluxkit, n.d., Fluxus Edition announced 1969
Plastic box containing nine vials with liquid, 2 x 2 5/8 x 3 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

48. George Landow, American, born 1944
Fluxfilm No. 25, The Evil Faerie, 1966
Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 24 sec.


Happiness?

49. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Crisis and Nervous Depression, c. 1962–63
Letterpress on paper, 4 5/8 x 3 7/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.396

50. Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Bici Forbes and Bici Forbes Hendricks), American, born 1932 Rx: Stress Formula, c. 1970–78
Pill bottle with ink on pressure-sensitive labels, containing photocopy in twenty-six gelatin capsules, 5 1/8 x 1 3/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

51. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Flux Smile Machine, c. 1970
Blue plastic box with offset label, containing metal and plastic spring device, 1 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

52. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Flux Smile Machine, 1970
Blue plastic box with offset label, containing metal and plastic spring device, 1 1/4 x 4 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.163

53. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Grotesque Face Mask, c. 1976
Offset lithograph on paper, 8 x 6 1/2 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.278

54. Yoko Ono, American, born 1933
A Box of Smile, 1971
Plastic box containing mirror with transparent lid inscribed in gold: “a box of smile y.o. ’71,” 2 1/8 x 2 1/8 x 2 3/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

55. Yoko Ono, American, born 1933
A Box of Smile, 1971/1984 ReFlux Edition
Black plastic box inscribed in gold: “a box of smile y.o. ’71”; mirror on bottom of interior, 2 1/8 x 2 1/8 x 2 1/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Acquisitions Fund; GM.989.12.5

56. Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi, Japanese, born 1938
Disappearing Music for Face, 1965
Thirty-nine-page stapled flipbook with sequential images of Yoko Ono’s mouth losing a smile by Peter Moore from the Fluxfilm of the same name (cat. 57) from Flux Year Box 2 (cat. 6), 2 1/4 x 3 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund; GM.987.44.2

57. Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi, Japanese, born 1938
Fluxfilm No. 4, Disappearing Music for Face, 1966 Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 11:16 min. Camera: Peter Moore


Health?

EVENT 8
Alison Knowles, 1965
Wounded Furniture
This piece uses an old piece of furniture in bad shape. Destroy it further, if you like. Bandage it up with gauze and adhesive. Spray red paint on the wounded joints. Effective lighting helps.

58. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Solo for Sick Man, 1962, Fluxus Edition announced 1966
Original artwork of typewriter and ink on transparentized paper for printed edition, 4 1/4 x 11 3/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

59. Hi Red Center with George Maciunas
Fluxclinic: Record of Features and Feats, created for Hi Red Center Fluxclinic event at the Waldorf Astoria, June 4, 1966
Offset lithograph on white card stock, folded once, printed on both sides, from Flux Year Box 2 (cat. 6), 7 5/8 x 4 7/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund; GM.987.44.2

60. Shigeko Kubota, Japanese, born 1937
Flux Medicine, 1966/1968
Clear plastic box with label, containing white ball, clear empty medicine capsule, Styrofoam disk, clear bottle with liquid, eye dropper, eggshells, Calcium Lactate label, Alka-Seltzer label, Neo-Synephrine label, and plastic tube with needle, 1 1/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.262.1– 11

61. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Shigeko Kubota’s “Flux Medicine,” 1966
Mechanical for label of Fluxus Edition, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

62. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Fluxsyringe, c. 1972, Fluxus Edition announced 1973
Wood box containing metal pump with fifty-six needles, 3 1/8 x 16 1/2 x 3 3/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

62a. Larry Miller, American, born 1944
Orifice Flux Plugs, 1974, Fluxus Edition announced 1974
Eighteen-compartment hinged clear plastic box containing glass eyeball, thermometer, drill bits, condom, plaster cast of the artist’s finger, earplugs, suppository, nose ring, Band-Aid, baby pacifier, earphone, dried beans, Crayola crayon, corncob pipe, and other objects, 9 x 13 1/8 x 2 3/8 in.
Courtesy of the artist


Love?

EVENT 9
George Brecht, 1961
Three Gap Events
• missing-letter sign
• between two sounds
• meeting again

63. Takako Saito, Japanese, born 1929 Heart Box, 1965
Paper box covered with drawings, filled with smaller paper boxes with drawings, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Alison Knowles; GM.978.212

64. Milan Knížák, Czech, born 1940, and Ken Friedman, American, born 1949
Fluxus Heart Shirt, n.d.
Man’s white polyester-and-cotton long-sleeve shirt with the shape of a heart cut out of the breast pocket, tinted pink on the inside, 32 1/2 x 72 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.3

65. Ken Friedman, American, born 1949
Herz (the heart that goes into the box), 1968, reconstructed 1986
Painted wood, 6 x 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Emily Harvey; GM.988.31.18A and 18B

(66.) Milan Knížák, Czech, born 1940
Enforced Symbioses (facsimile), 1977
Typewriting, color instant print, and ink with nails and twine on cardboard, 15 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 1/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Text: “ENFORCED SYMBIOSES / to be bound to someone (something) for a long time [examples] . . . As long as what joins them continues to function, these twins, triplets or N-lets will be forced to appear together—that is, as a single existence. At least in the sense that they will be mutually forced to accept the other as themselves. Let us try to think of two as one, of three as one, of many as one.”
Note: Not on view at the Grey.

67. Geoffrey Hendricks, American, born 1931, in collaboration with Nye Ffarrabas (formerly Bici Forbes and Bici Forbes Hendricks), George Maciunas, and Peter Moore
Flux Divorce Box, 1973, Fluxus Edition announced 1973
Wood box containing objects of various media, assembled by Hendricks, 4 1/8 x 19 7/8 x 15 5/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Note: The album is cut in two horizontally; objects include fragment of coats, barbed wire, black plastic, three pieces of correspondence cut in half, and half of a wedding announcement.


Nothingness?

EVENT 10
George Brecht, 1961
Two Elimination Events
• empty vessel
• empty vessel

68. Diter Rot (Dieter Roth), Swiss-German, 1930–1998
White Page with Holes, 1963/1970
Sheet of paper with scattered punched holes, “Poetry,” from An Anthology of Chance Operations, ed. La Monte Young and Jackson Mac Low [1963], 2nd ed. 1970, 7 1/2 x 8 in. Private collection

69. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Yam Ride, c. 1962
Small Goodyear rubber tire with “YAM RIDE” stenciled in silver on the side, 3 1/8 x 10 1/2 in. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

70. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Fluxholes, 1964
Clear plastic box with label printed with a photographic image of human buttocks and white text: “FLUX HOLES GATHERED BY BEN VAUTIER.” Inside, clear plastic tubes (drinking straws) of approximately the same length, laid out flat, filling the bottom surface of the box, 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.237

71. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Holes, 1964/1969
White plastic box with label printed with finger-in-anus motif, containing four offset black and white-printed cards with images of holes, two of which have been punched; a stainless steel sink strainer (attached to the bottom of the box); two rubber washers; and rubber band, 1/2 x 4 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

72. Endre Tót, Hungarian, born 1937
Dear Stanley, . . . I am glad if I can type zeros, 1973
Cardstock postcard with cancelled postage stamps and typed text, 4 1/8 x 5 7/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.197

73. Endre Tót, Hungarian, born 1937
Evergreen Idea, n.d.
Typewritten (printed?) ink on paper: a block of zeros ending with text, “I am glad if I can type zeros”; stamped on back, in green ink: “Evergreen Idea.” 16 1/2 x 19 1/2
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.264

74. Nam June Paik, American, 1932–2006 Zen for TV, 1963/78
Altered television set, 21 x 15 1/2 x 12 3/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of the artist in honor of George Maciunas; GM.978.211

75. Per Kirkeby, Danish, born 1938
Flux Box, 1969
Red plastic block filling inside of red plastic box, paper label on lid, 1/2 x 3 7/8 x 4 3/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

76. Nam June Paik, American, 1932–2006
Zen for Film, 1964
White plastic box with paper label on lid, containing a section of blank 16 mm film leader, 1 1/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.303.1–2

77. Nam June Paik, American, 1932–2006 Zen for Film, 1964 (reconstructed)
Clear film, continuous loop


Sex?

78. Al Hansen, American, 1927–1995
Homage to the Girl of Our Dreams, 1966
Hershey Bar wrappers collaged onto wood, 7 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 2/3 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Corice and Armand P. Arman; GM.978.203.2

79. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Fluxpost 17-17, 1965
Stamps printed in black ink on gummed, perforated paper, 11 x 8 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.285

80. Robert Filliou, French, 1926–1987; and Daniel Spoerri, Swiss, born 1930
MONSTERS ARE INOFFENSIVE, 1967
Flux Post Card captioned: “Men call pubic hair pornography but / MONSTERS ARE INOFFENSIVE.” Sideways: “By Filliou-Spoerri-Topo. Photos: Vera Spoerri. © 1967, by Fluxus, Division of Implosions, Inc.” From Flux Year Box 2 (cat. 6). 6 1/4 x 4 3/8 in. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund; GM.987.44.2

81. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Female Underpants, c. 1966
Screenprint on fabric, 13 x 11 in.
Harvard Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection: Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore / Bound & Unbound; M26488

82. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Male Underpants, c. 1966
Screenprint on fabric, 13 x 8 5/8 in.
Harvard Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection: Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore / Bound & Unbound; M26489

83. Robert Filliou, French, 1926–1987
Boite optimiste no. 2 (Optimistic Box no. 2), 1968 (published Remscheid, Germany: VICE- Versand)
Wood box with brass hinges and clasps, photograph on paper, paper labels, and offset lithograph, 1 7/8 x 5 1/8 x 4 1/8 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1992; 1992.135 Note: Exterior label reads, “Boite Optimiste Nr 2 / Vive la marriage”; interior label reads: “A trois. / Robert Filliou”; box contains a photo of three people engaged in sexual activity.

84. Jock Reynolds, American, born 1947
Revealing Fact, 1970
White plastic box with label, containing thermometer attached to a card with ballpoint pen, 5/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Note: Label on lid features a photograph of a nipple over which are printed the words: “Revealing fact . . . hold finger on nipple one minute ** then open box & read.” Inside, the tip of the thermometer coincides with the underside of the nipple on the lid; the card to which it is attached is divided by a black line with the words “good person” printed under the lower end of the temperature scale and “bad person” under the upper end.

85. Jere Lykins, American, born 1946
Underland Explorations, Remains of Common and Ithyphallic Beings, 1977
Three terracotta objects with pinned paper label typed “remains of common and ithyphallic beings” in a stamped wooden box with plastic cover, inscribed on bottom: “1977, Jere Lykins, 19/50” (not a Fluxus edition), 4 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of the Friedman Family; KF.986.80.350

86. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Fluxfilm No. 13, Trace #24, 1965
Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 3:00 min.


Staying Alive?

EVENT 11
Alison Knowles, 1962
Proposition
Make a salad.

87. Jock Reynolds, American, born 1947
Untitled, 1981
Medicine bottle containing cotton and gelatin capsules stuffed with shredded money, 5 7/8 x 2 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

88. Jane Knížák
Untitled, n.d.
Two rolls of joke $-printed toilet paper wrapped in plastic, 4 1/2 x 5 x 2 5/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

89. Daniel Spoerri, Swiss, born 1930
Meal Variation No. 2, Eaten by Marcel Duchamp, from 31 Variations on a Meal, c. 1965, Fluxus Edition announced 1965
Screenprint on fabric, produced by George Maciunas, 25 3/8 x 31 3/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

90. John Chick, American, twentieth century
Flux Food, 1969
Seven-compartment clear plastic box with label on lid, containing woodland flora (pinecone, wood, birch bark, seed pods, lichen, and fungus), 1 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.28

91. John Chick, American, twentieth century
Flux Food, 1969
Seven-compartment clear plastic box with label on lid, containing twelve-and-a-half-inch Styrofoam cubes, three green Styrofoam noodles, five blue plastic tubes, eleven cardboard cylinders, a piece of bark, and several pine needles, 1 x 4 3/4 x 3 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

92. Per Kirkeby, Danish, born 1938
Four Flux Drinks, 1969
White plastic box with label on lid, containing four tea bags full of white powders such as sugar, salt, and aspirin, 3/8 x 4 5/8 x 3 7/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

93. Claes Thure Oldenburg, American, born 1929
False Food Prototype for Rubber Food Fluxkit, 1966
Mixed media, 2 x 7 1/8 x 5 1/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of Billie Maciunas; GM.979.181.4

(94.) George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
One Year, 1973
Empty food containers from one year, dimensions vary
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York Note: Due to its fragile nature, this work could not travel to the Grey Art Gallery. For an illustration, see exhibition catalogue, p. 16.

95. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
“Prefabricated Housing System,” 1965
Offset black ink on tan paper, 16 7/8 x 16 7/8 in. (folded)
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

96. Alison Knowles, American, born 1933
The Identical Lunch with George Maciunas, 1973
Screenprint on canvas, 13 7/8 x 17 1/2 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmoutjh College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the artist; GM.978.208


Time?

EVENT 12
Jackson Mac Low, 1961
Tree Movie
Select a tree.* Set up and focus a movie camera so that the tree* fills most of the picture. Turn on the camera and leave it on without moving it for any number of hours. If the camera is about to run out of film, substitute a camera with fresh film. Beginning at any point in the film, any length of it may be projected at a showing.
*For the word “tree,” one may substitute “mountain,” “sea,” “flower,” “lake,” etc.

97. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Time, 1961–66
Cut-and-pasted printed paper, colored paper and ink on graph paper, 12 5/8 x 9 1/2 in.; painted alarm clock, 4 3/8 x 3 7/8 x 2 1/2 in.; gelatin silver print, 11 7/8 x 9 3/8 in.; cut-and-pasted paper and typed carbon paper transfer on graph paper, 12 5/8 x 9 1/2 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

98. Benjamin Patterson, American, born 1934
Dance (Instruction No. 1?), 1964
Yellow, purple, and brown magic marker drawing of two shoe soles with rubber-stamped text “LATER” and (upside-down) “NOW,” 15 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

99. George Brecht, American, 1926–2008; in collaboration with Robert Filliou, French, 1926– 1987
Eastern Daylight Fluxtime, 1977
Engraved metal watch casing with plastic “crystal,” inner works and stem removed, containing small screws, brown pebbles, seashell, fake diamond, balls, etc., 2 3/8 x 2 x 1/2 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

100. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Flux Timekit, late 1960s
Clear plastic box with offset-printed label, containing a small roll of audiotape, a metal bullet, cinnamon powder in glass bottle, glass ampule filled with water, a wood ball, dried beans of various kinds, wheat and oat grains, and a steel ball bearing, 1 x 4 3/4 x 3 3/4 in.
Harvard Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection: Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore / Bound & Unbound; M26492

101. James Riddle, American, born 1933
One Hour, page in V TRE, 3 newspaper eVenTs for the pRicE of $1, no. 7, February 1, 1966 Offset lithograph on green paper, 22 5/8 x 15 7/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection; 2010.68

102. James Riddle, American, born 1933
Fluxfilm No. 6: 9 Minutes, 1966
Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 10:00 min.

103. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
10-Hour Flux Clock, c. 1969
Alarm clock with added offset face, assembled by George Maciunas as a Fluxus Edition, 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

104. Per Kirkeby, Danish, born 1938
Flux Clock (Distance Traveled in mm), c. 1969
Altered readymade alarm clock with printed paper face, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1 1/8 in.
Harvard Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum, Barbara and Peter Moore Fluxus Collection: Margaret Fisher Fund and gift of Barbara Moore / Bound & Unbound; M26421

105. Per Kirkeby, Danish, born 1938
Degree Face Flux Clock, 1969
Small green wind-up alarm clock marked “Western Germany,” original face replaced with printed 360° face, 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1 3/4 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. The Museum of Modern Art, New York

106. Mieko (Chieko) Shiomi, Japanese, born 1938
Spatial Poem No. 3, a fluxcalendar (falling events, loose-leaf calendar), 1968
Day-to-day calendar with leather cover, four bolts, forty-three leaves, a thicker cover leaf with photo of a hand, and blank last page; each day has several events, 11 7/8 x 5 1/8 x 1 1/8 in. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.191

107. Dora Maurer, Hungarian, born 1937 Time, 1972
Ten gelatin silver prints mounted on cotton fabric, accordion fashion, individually titled The Mirror of Time, Distorted Time, Reflected in Mirror of Time, Easy Time, Lead Time, Busy Time, Mixed Time, Closed Time, Merry Time, and Dead Time, 5 3/4 x 9 3/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of the Friedman Family; KF.986.80.363


What Am I?

EVENT 13
Emmett Williams, 1962
For La Monte Young
Performer asks if La Monte Young is in the audience.

108. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Fluxfilm No. 11, Trace No. 22, 1965
Silent black-and-white film transferred to DVD, 2:88 min.

109. Ben Vautier, French, born 1935
Living Fluxsculpture, 1966/1969
Plastic, mirror, paper, 1 x 3 5/8 x 4 3/4 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.405.1–2

110. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Excreta Fluxorum, 1973
Seven-compartment clear plastic box with labels, containing feces from different animals
1 x 3 5/8 x 4 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.158

111. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Excreta Fluxorum, 1973
Eighteen-compartment clear plastic box with labels, containing feces from different animals and a white marble, 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 3 1/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of John Cage; GM.978.204.1

112. George Brecht, American, 1926–2008
Games and Puzzles, Fluxus CL (Name Kit), 1965
Plastic box containing die, scrabble letter, clear blue plastic cube, etc., and blue paper printed: “name kit / Spell your name,” 7/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 5/8 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.24

113. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Gift Box for John Cage: Spell Your Name with These Objects, c. 1972
Leather-covered, red velvet–lined box containing fifteen objects (acorn, egg, glass stopper, plastic boxes of seeds, etc.), 2 1/8 x 9 3/8 x 4 1/8 in.
Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of John Cage; GM.978.204.2

114. Robert Watts, American, 1923–1988
Fingerprint, 1965/1969
Plastic, paper, and plaster with fingerprint, 1 x 4 x 4 3/4 in.
Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989; 1989.483

115. George Maciunas, American, 1931–1978
Multifaceted Mirror, 1970
Wood box containing a square, concave metal plate set with forty-nine mirrors, 12 7/8 x 14 5/8 x 14 5/8 in.
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift; The Museum of Modern Art, New York

116. Fluxus Editorial Council (Geoffrey Hendricks)
Correction: George Maciunas: Life Span Data, insert, V TRE Extra, “Maciunas Dies” issue, 1979
Black ink printed on brown paper, 14 3/4 x 2 3/4 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, George Maciunas Memorial Collection: Gift of the Friedman Family; GM.986.80.34A


PUBLIC PROGRAMS

Unless otherwise noted, events are free of charge, no reservations, seating is limited. Photo ID required for entrance to NYU buildings. Programs are subject to change; for updates consult the Grey’s website at www.nyu.edu/greyart. Information: greygallery@nyu.edu, 212/998-6780.

Gallery Talks

Grey Art Gallery, New York University 100 Washington Square East
Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 pm

Midori Yoshimoto, Associate Professor of Art History and Director of Art Galleries, New Jersey City University, on Japanese Fluxus artists
Wednesday, October 19, 6:30 pm

Julia Robinson, Assistant Professor of Art History, NYU, and Ellen Swieskowski, CAS ’11, co-curators of Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond.
Friday, November 11, 5:30 pm

Free Flux-Tour of the Grey Art Gallery guided by artist Larry Miller
Saturday, November 12, 3:30 pm
Jacquelynn Baas, Director Emeritus, Berkeley Art Museum, and curator Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life
Gallery Talks are free of charge with Grey admission ($3.00 suggested, free with NYU ID), no reservations.

Conversation
Friday, September 16, 6:30 pm
Fales Library, Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, Third Floor
In conjunction with his exhibition Prospectus New York at NYU’s Fales Library, artist Ben Kinmont will talk with Julia Robinson, Assistant Professor of Art History, NYU, and co- curator of Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond.
Co-sponsored by NYU’s Fales Library and Grey Art Gallery.

Fluxus Redux
Tuesday, October 4, 6:30 pm
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, 53 Washington Square South
Displaying objects intended to circumvent the institutional art system—and preserving performative and ephemeral works in perpetuity—raises fundamental questions for art museums. This panel will confront the challenges posed by exhibiting Fluxus works, addressing both theoretical issues and hands-on museum practice. Speakers include Christophe Cherix, Chief Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books, Museum of Modern Art; Alison Knowles, Fluxus artist; Carlo McCormick, Senior Editor, Paper magazine; and Glenn Wharton, Time-Based Media Conservator, Museum of Modern Art, and Research Scholar in Museum Studies, NYU. Moderated by Julia Robinson.
Co-sponsored by NYU’s Program in Museum Studies, Department of Art History, and Grey Art Gallery.

George Maciunas and SoHo
Saturday, October 15, 11:00 am Meet at 80 Wooster Street
Roslyn Bernstein and Shael Shapiro, co-authors of Illegal Living: 80 Wooster Street and the Evolution of SoHo, will lead a walking tour of George Maciunas’s Fluxhouses and other sites associated with the artist, including his infamous trees.

Fluxus Amongst Us: Insight and Transformation in Fluxus Encounters
Tuesday, October 18, 6:30 pm
Fales Library, Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South, Third Floor
Defying Western concepts of time, presentation, and object-making, Fluxus challenges curators, scholars, and artists to re-think the creative process. This panel discussion will focus on Fluxus breakthroughs: new perceptions, altered consciousness, and re-evaluations of meaning-making in art. Speakers include Barbara London, Associate Curator of Media and Performance, Museum of Modern Art; Midori Yamamura, independent curator; and Martha Wilson, Founding Director, Franklin Furnace Archive. Moderated by Karen Finley, Arts Professor of Art and Public Policy, NYU. Co-sponsored by NYU’s Department of Art and Public Policy, TSOA; Fales Library; and Grey Art Gallery.

Performa 11: Fluxus
Friday–Sunday, November 11–13
A series of Fluxus events will be featured in Performa 11—the fourth visual art performance biennial organized by Performa, a nonprofit interdisciplinary arts organization established by RoseLee Goldberg. Dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth-century art, Performa encourages new directions in performance for the twenty-first century. Performa 11 (November 1–21) will include performances by over 100 contemporary artists at over 80 venues in New York City and is presented in collaboration with local arts and cultural organizations as well as international curators.
Information: www.performa-arts.org. Related Exhibitions and Programs

Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions, 1962–1978
The Paul J. Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries The Museum of Modern Art, New York
11 West 53rd Street
September 21, 2011–January 16, 2012
Information: www.moma.org, 212/708-9400

Fluxrutgers: Experiments in Life and Learning
Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ
September 24, 2011– April 1, 2012
Wednesday, November 2, 6:30 pm: Fluxconcert, Larry Miller
Information: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu, 732/932-7237

Prospectus New York: Ben Kinmont
Tracey/Berry Gallery, Fales Library, Bobst Library, New York University 70 Washington Square South, Third Floor
September 15–November 15, 2011
Information: 212/998-2596

Anarchism Without Adjectives: On the Work of Christopher D’Arcangelo 1975–79
Artists Space
38 Greene Street, Third Floor
September 10–October 16, 2011
Information: www.artistsspace.org, 212/226-3970

Creative Time Summit 3: Living as Form
Conference: Friday, September 23
NYU Skirball Center, 566 LaGuardia Place
Information: http://www.creativetime.org/programs/archive/2011/summit/ Tickets: www.web.ovationtix.com
Exhibition: Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street (at Delancey Street) September 16–October 16, 2011
Free of charge
Includes over 100 artists and projects, 25 curators, and 9 new commissions highlighting 20 years of socially engaged art.
Information: www.creativetime.org, info@creativetime.org, 212/206-6674

Yoko Ono Imagine Peace: Featuring John & Yoko’s Year of Peace
University Art Gallery, Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
September 6–October 15, 2011
Organized by the Myers School of Art, University of Akron, and curated by Kevin Concannon and John Noga.
Information: www.stallercenter.com/gallery, 631/632-7240

SoHo: The Intersection of Art and Real Estate
Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College 151 East 25th Street
Thursday, December 1, 8:30 am–12:30 pm

On the 40th anniversary of zoning-law changes that created artists’ live/work lofts in SoHo, this conference will present government officials, real-estate developers, activists, and artists to explore the neighborhood’s history and ponder its future. SoHo as we know it derives from the vision of one man: Fluxus founder George Maciunas, who conceived Fluxhouses where artists could live and work. During the 1970s, SoHo artists staved off urban-renewal pressures and successfully lobbied for zoning changes. Through the 1980s, SoHo thrived as an art-focused mixed-use neighborhood. Then real estate values began to rise, and commerce pushed art out.

Today, SoHo’s character is determined by the fashion, cosmetics, and home-furnishings stores that occupy its ground floors. What should be done? Can art survive as a vital component of SoHo? Should residential occupancy remain restricted to artists? Should retail stores be allowed to continue proliferating, contrary to zoning laws? Although the neighborhood is landmarked, will its physical character change?
Free of charge. To register, call 646/660-6950. There will also be a registration link here.

Unless otherwise noted, events are free of charge, no reservations, seating is limited. Photo ID required for entrance to NYU buildings. Programs are subject to change; for updates consult the Grey’s website at www.nyu.edu/greyart. To receive updates via email, click here. Information: greygallery@nyu.edu, 212/998-6780.


Major Exhibition Poses Tough Questions And Reasserts Fluxus Attitude

Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life and Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond

open at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery on September 9, 2011

New York City (July 21, 2011)—On view from September 9 through December 3, 2011, at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life features over 100 works dating primarily from the 1960s and ’70s by artists such as George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Ken Friedman, George Maciunas, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Mieko Shiomi, Ben Vautier, and La Monte Young. Curated by art historian Jacquelynn Baas and organized by Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art, the exhibition draws heavily on the Hood’s George Maciunas Memorial Collection, and includes art objects, documents, videos, event scores, and Fluxkits. Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life is accompanied by a second installation, Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond, in the Grey’s Lower Level Gallery.

Fluxus—which began in the 1960s as an international network of artists, composers, and designers―resists categorization as an art movement, collective, or group. It also defies traditional geographical, chronological, and medium-based approaches. Instead, Fluxus participants employ a “do-it-yourself” attitude, relating their activities to everyday life and to viewers’ experiences, often blurring the boundaries between art and life. Offering a fresh look at Fluxus, the show and its installation are designed to spark multiple interpretations, exploring the works’ relationships to key themes of human existence and what they can teach us about our own position in the world. “The essential function of Fluxus artworks is to help us practice life; what we ‘learn’ from Fluxus is how to perform as an ever-changing self in an ever-changing world—and that a sense of humor helps,” observes Jacquelynn Baas, founding director of the Hood and author of numerous publications including Learning Mind: Experience into Art (University of California Press, 2010). Lynn Gumpert, director of the Grey Art Gallery, adds: “We are pleased to host this important reassessment of Fluxus, which was, to a considerable extent, concocted by Downtown artists who would later become the denizens of SoHo Fluxhouses. A challenge in presenting Fluxus works today is to maintain the defiant and playful spirit in which they were made while, at the same time, safeguarding and preserving them for future audiences.”

Through its design and layout, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life encourages interpretation and response. The works are arranged in fourteen categories framed as questions, such as “What Am I?,” “Happiness?,” “Health?,” “Freedom?,” and “Danger?” A handout with a plan of the installation allows visitors to proceed directly to the areas of most pressing interest to them. This approach derives from key premises underlying Fluxus activities: the dismantling of strictly defined borders between different media and between art and life. In particular, it incorporates strategies of George Maciunas (1931–1978), the Lithuanian-born pioneering member of what has now become known as the international Fluxus movement. Maciunas challenged the “high art” world and its attendant commodification of art objects. He conceived of art as part of the social process and created works that celebrated collaboration, the ephemeral, and the everyday—all infected with a touch of playful anarchy. Circumventing both conventional aesthetics and the commercial art world, Maciunas strove to empower both artists and viewers to engage with essential issues via a Fluxus approach to life.

Objects in the show address the thematic questions in various ways. The section on “Happiness?” includes Bici Forbes’s (now Nye Ffarrabas) Stress Formula, a vitamin bottle labeled, “Take one capsule every four hours, for laughs.” Inside are clear capsules with rolled-up slips of paper printed with humorous messages, suggesting that for us to achieve “Happiness,” jokes may be more effective than drugs. Other Fluxus artists seem to agree that happiness is something we make for ourselves, not the result of something that happens to us.

Integral to the exhibition are two Fluxus innovations: event scores and art-as-games-in-a- box, many of which, like Burglary (pictured above), were gathered into “Fluxkits” along with other ephemera. These were sold at intentionally low prices—not through galleries but via mail order and at artist-run stores. The events were even more accessible. Sometimes consisting of just one word—such as George Brecht’s “Exit,” included in the section titled “Death?”—Fluxus events could be performed by anyone, anywhere, at any time.

The accompanying catalogue is conceived as an art self-help book that addresses the general public as well as scholars. Co-published by Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago Press, the volume includes an introduction by Jacquelynn Baas and essays by Baas, Fluxus artist Ken Friedman, and scholars Hannah Higgins and Jacob Proctor. Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life will also travel to the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, from February 25 to May 20, 2012.

Concurrently on view with Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life is Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond. Curated by Julia Robinson, Assistant Professor of Art History at New York University, with Ellen Swieskowski (NYU/CAS ’11), the exhibition features Fluxus objects as well as paintings and drawings by artists who preceded and postdate the heyday of Fluxus, but who share related concerns. Also included are documents, posters, scores, poems, and ephemera by concrete poets, minimal and conceptual artists, and composers who explore language, push the boundaries of music, and investigate notions of performativity. All objects are drawn either from the NYU Art Collection—which has important holdings in American art from the 1940s to 1970s—or from NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections. Fales Library houses the renowned Downtown Collection, which is the world’s most extensive archive of books, journals, posters, and ephemera relating to the Downtown scene since 1970, and which includes the Judson Church Papers, Vito Acconci’s 0-9 archive, and the Stuart Sherman Papers. Fluxus at NYU will be on view in the Grey’s Lower Level Gallery and the lobby of the Tracey/Barry Gallery, on the third floor of Bobst Library. Complementing both Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life and Fluxus at NYU, and presented in conjunction with Performa 11, artist Larry Miller will create a special Flux gallery tour. Additional gallery talks and public programs will be announced at a later date.


Sponsorship:

Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life and its accompanying full-color catalogue were organized by the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and are generously supported by Constance and Walter Burke, Class of 1944, the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund, and the Marie- Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund. Additional support for the presentation at the Grey Art Gallery and for Fluxus at NYU: Before and Beyond is provided by the Abby Weed Grey Trust; and the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends.


About the Grey Art Gallery:

The Grey Art Gallery is New York University’s fine-arts museum, located on historic Washington Square Park in New York City’s Greenwich Village. It offers the NYU community and the general public a dynamic roster of engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions, all of them enriched by public programs. With its emphasis on experimentation and interpretation, and its focus on exploring art in its historical, cultural, and social contexts, the Grey serves as a museum-laboratory for the exploration of art’s environments.
Exhibitions organized by the Grey have encompassed all the visual arts: painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking, photography, architecture and decorative arts, video, film, and performance. In addition to producing its own exhibitions, which often travel to other venues in the United States and abroad, the Gallery hosts traveling shows that might otherwise not be seen in New York and produces scholarly publications that are distributed worldwide.


General Information:


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Grey Art Gallery, New York University
100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003

Tel: 212/998-6780, Fax: 212/995-4024
Press: Contact: Alyson Cluck 212/998-6782 or alyson.cluck@nyu.edu
E-mail: greyartgallery@nyu.edu
Web site: http://www.nyu.edu/greyart
Admission: Suggested donation: $3; NYU students, faculty, and staff: free of charge

Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 11 am–6 pm
OPEN LATE Wednesday: 11 am–8 pm
Saturday: 11 am–5 pm
Sunday, Monday, and major holidays: Closed


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