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Fluxus Collage

Fluxus

Started: 1959

Ended: 1978

Fluxus Timeline

Quotes

"The misunderstandings have seemed to come from comparing Fluxus with movements or groups whose individuals seem to have some principle in common or an agreed upon program."
George Brecht
"Purge the world of bourgeoisie sickness, "intellectual," professional and commercialized culture, purge the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art, abstract art, illusionistic art, mathematical art, - PURGE THE WORLD OF "EUROPANISM!" PROMOTE A REVOLUTIONARY FLOOD AND TIDE IN ART, promote living art, anti-art, promote NON ART REALITY to be fully grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals."
George Maciunas, from the Fluxus Manifesto
"I've always thought of Fluxus as remarkable for its offering of collaboration with so-called ordinary people as well as Fluxus artists."
Alison Knowles
"My first concert - apart from Beethoven at School and Satie at the opening of my exhibition in Kleve in 1960 - was at the gallery Parnass in Wuppertal in 1963. Dressed like a regular pianist in dark grey flannel, black tie and no hat, I played the piano all over – not just the keys – with many pairs of old shoes until it disintegrated. My intention was neither destructive nor nihilistic. 'Heal like with like' – similia similibus curantur – in the homeopathic sense. The main intention was to indicate a new beginning.. ..or simply a revolutionary act. This was my first public Fluxus appearance."
Joseph Beuys on his first Fluxus Experience
Fluxus is the 'event' according to George Brecht:
putting the flower vase on the piano.
fluxus is the action of life/music:
sending for a tango expert in order to be able to dance on stage.
fluxus is the creation of a relationship between life and art, fluxus is gag, pleasure and shock, fluxus is an attitude towards art, towards the non-art of anti-art, towards the negation of one’s ego, fluxus is the major part of the education as to john cage, dadaism and zen, fluxus is light and has a sense of humor.
Ben Vautier from Text on Fluxus

KEY ARTISTS

George MaciunasGeorge Maciunas
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Yoko OnoYoko Ono
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Nam June PaikNam June Paik
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Allan KaprowAllan Kaprow
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George BrechtGeorge Brecht
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Yayoi KusamaYayoi Kusama
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More Top Artists

"In Fluxus there has never been any attempt to agree on aims or methods; individuals with something unnamable in common have simply naturally coalesced to publish and perform their work. Perhaps this common thing is a feeling that the bounds of art are much wider than they have conventionally seemed, or that art and certain long established bounds are no longer very useful."

George Brecht Signature

Synopsis

Fluxus was a loosely organized group of artists that spanned the globe, but had an especially strong presence in New York City. George Maciunas is historically considered the primary founder and organizer of the movement, who described Fluxus as, "a fusion of Spike Jones, gags, games, Vaudeville, Cage and Duchamp." Like the Futurists and Dadaists before them, Fluxus artists did not agree with the authority of museums to determine the value of art, nor did they believe that one must be educated to view and understand a piece of art. Fluxus not only wanted art to be available to the masses, they also wanted everyone to produce art all the time. It is often difficult to define Fluxus, as many Fluxus artists claim that the act of defining the movement is, in fact, too limiting and reductive.

Key Ideas

Unlike previous artistic movements, Fluxus sought to change the history of the world, not just the history of art. The persistent goal of most Fluxus artists was to destroy any boundary between art and life. George Maciunas especially wanted to, "purge the world of bourgeoisie sickness...." He stated that Fluxus was "anti-art," in order to underscore the revolutionary mode of thinking about the practice and process of art.
A central Fluxus tenet was to dismiss and mock the elitist world of "high art" and to find any way possible to bring art to the masses, much in keeping with the social climate of the 1960s. Fluxus artists used humor to express their intent and, along with Dada, Fluxus was one of the few art movements to use humor throughout history. Despite their playful attitude, Fluxus artists were serious about their desire to change the balance of power in the art world. Their irreverence for "high art" had an impact on the perceived authority of the museum to determine what, and who, constituted "art."
Fluxus art involved the viewer, relying on the element of chance to shape the ultimate outcome of the piece. The use of chance was also employed by Dada, Marcel Duchamp, and other performance art of the time, such as Happenings. Fluxus artists were most heavily influenced by the ideas of John Cage, who believed that one should embark on a piece without having a conception of the eventual end. It was the process of creating that was important, not the finished product.

Beginnings

Fluxus Image

Fluxus was an avant-garde art movement that emerged in the late 1950s as a group of artists who had become disenchanted with the elitist attitude they perceived in the art world at the time. These artists looked to Futurists and Dadaists for inspiration, focusing especially on performance aspects of the movements. The Dadaist use of humor in art was also definitive in the formation of the Fluxus ethos. The two most dominant forces on Fluxus artists were Marcel Duchamp and John Cage, who championed the use of everyday objects and the element of chance in art, which became the fundamental attitude and practice of all Fluxus artists.

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Fluxus Overview Continues

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Tracy DiTolla

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Movement Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Tracy DiTolla
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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