press release

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.

Fluxus And The Essential Questions Of Life
Kurator: Jacquelynn Baas

Künstler: 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, Ray Johnson, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Maxfield, Robert Morris, Simone Morris, Nam June Paik, Terry Riley, Dieter Roth, James Waring, Emmett Williams, Christian Wolff, La Monte Young, Jackson Mac Low, George Maciunas, Ay-O, Stanley Brouwn, Robert Filliou, Brion Gysin, Sohei Hashimoto, Dick Higgins, Joseph John Jones, Alison Knowles, Takehisa Kosugi, Shigeko Kubota, György Ligeti, Jackson Mac Low, Benjamin Patterson, Takako Saito, Tomas Schmit, Ben Vautier, Robert Watts, Water Yam, Mieko Shiomi, Giuseppe Chiari, Alison Knowles, Bean Rolls, Eric Andersen, John Cavanaugh, Willem de Ridder, Albert M. Fine, Ken Friedman, Hi Red Center , John Lennon, Frederic Lieberman, James Riddle, Paul Jeffrey Sharits, Bob Sheff, Vera Spoerri, Roland Topor, Stanley Vanderbeek, Wolf Vostell, Yoshimasa Wada, Takehisa Kosugi, Ken Friedman, Peter Moore, John Cale, Milan Knizak, Jiri Valoch, Jean Dupuy, Jack Coke, Geoffrey Hendricks, Carla Liss, George Landow, Nye Ffarrabas (Bici Forbes, Bici Forbes Hendricks), Shigeko Kubota, Larry Miller, Takako Saito, Endre Tót, Per Kirkeby, Al Hansen, Jock Reynolds, Jere Lykins, Daniel Spoerri, John Chick, Claes Oldenburg, Jackson Mac Low, James Riddle, Dora Maurer ...