Fluxus

by zachlichtenstein

As we discussed in class last week, Fluxus, which began in 1958 with John Cage, blends different types of media and emphasizes the importance of the conceptual. There is a distinct relationship between art and everyday life, and Fluxus allows ordinary people to perform and be on the stage. George Brecht, a prominent member of the Fluxus movement, said that “concert halls, theaters, and art galleries were mummifying,” so Fluxus artists preferred “streets, homes, and railway stations.” This quotation further emphasizes the fact that Fluxus is art for the common person. Many people who were involved in the Fluxus genre were interested in having flux communities to allow Flux artists to live close together and share similar ideas and beliefs. The first of one of these communities was in France.

In class we looked at Alison Knowles, one of the major members of the Fluxus movement. Her “Newspaper Event” is an example of Fluxus and it is where different news articles are read in different languages at different times and volumes, according to a composer. Another example of Fluxus is where a performer attempts to play a note on a clarinet that is suspended in the air without using his hands. There is also one where an instrument is hitched between two horses that pull in opposite directions until the instrument breaks into two halves.

Alison Knowles was born in 1933 and was married to Dick Higgins, another prominent Fluxus artist. She attended Middlebury College and then Pratt University where she earned a degree in fine art. Throughout her career she has worked with the most influential Fluxus artists, including John Cage with whom she published a book of visual music scores with. Her most famous Fluxus work is called “Make a Salad” and it draws large audiences wherever it is performed. As one can see in the video below, “Make a Salad” is exactly like the title indicates.

 

This video is an Alison Knowles’ Fluxus called “Make a Salad.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc5_pexVob8

 

This video is a George Brecht Fluxus calling “Drip Music.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnsaK7aiCuI

 

This link has different examples of Fluxus event scores.

http://cuma.periplurban.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/fluxus.pdf

 

What are people’s thoughts about Fluxus? In the link with different examples of Fluxus event scores (the third link), which one is your favorite? Which do you think is the most outrageous? Do you consider Fluxus a type of art? Why or why not?

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