Press Release

Stendhal Gallery is pleased to present Fluxus: To George With Love, From the Personal Collection of Jonas Mekas.

 

The exhibition has been curated from the personal collection of Jonas Mekas, avant-garde filmmaker and writer, founder and artistic director of Anthology Film Archives. He was a longtime friend and collaborator of George Maciunas, “chairman” of Fluxus.

Maciunas coined the term Fluxus in 1961 from a Latin etymological root meaning “flow”, in order to describe a movement with origins in Futurist performance, silent film, Zen, comedy, Vaudeville, and Dada. Fluxus set out to question time-worn notions of authorship and value, challenging ostensibly firm distinctions between artistic genres, and raising the question “who owns an idea?”
Influenced by the work of John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, the Fluxus group shifted the emphasis from what an artist makes to the artist’s personality, actions and opinions. Key to Maciunas’ vision was the participation of artists who shared his interdisciplinary interests, and he often anonymously funded, produced, and archived Fluxus projects. It was his 1967 conversion of 80 Wooster Street into a creative co-op that first brought artists into SoHo, changing the area forever, and earning him the epithet “Father of SoHo”; according to Jonas Mekas, Maciunas considered this one of his greatest achievements.

Maciunas attracted brilliant and creative collaborators, such as George Brecht, Ben Vautier, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik and Dick Higgins, in various collective efforts. He and his contemporaries worked to explore multimedia, combining it with performance art, poetry, experimental sound, music, film and video. Maciunas aimed to interrupt the rigidly hierarchical, formalist conventions of postwar art; he succeeded, launching an underground, ongoing, and international interdisciplinary anti-art movement.

Jonas Mekas was an enthusiastic and meticulous collector of his friends’ and contemporaries’ works, and his personal collection gives an unparalleled insight into the world of Fluxus. Unique pieces by George Maciunas on display include sculpture, private manuscripts, and drawings, demonstrating his wide range and influence as an artist. Along with Maciunas’ work are original paintings, drawings, posters, objects and rare Flux items by Ay-o, George Brecht, Jon Hendricks, La Monte Young, , Paul Sharits and Bob Watts. Materials include examples of 1960’s graphic design and typography, architectural design concepts, game boxes, sculptural performance relics, and the black & white Flux slides, “12 Big Names.”

Films will be projected in the gallery, including the Fluxfilm Anthology, a motion picture consisting of 41 films by different Fluxus artists, among them Ben Vautier, Wolf Vostell, Peter Moore, Joe Jones, and Alyson Knowles. Also shown is Jonas Mekas’ “Scenes from the life of George Maciunas,” a moving tribute to his friend, comprised of footage taken over 25 years. The personal nature of the beautifully-preserved and rarely seen works in Fluxus: To George With Love make it a truly significant exhibition.

From February 16 through March 31st. Reception held March 11 from 6-9.

Other Fluxus Artists include: Arman, Cesar, Baldaccini (Cesar), John Cage, Giuseppe Chiari, Philip Corner, Robert Filliou, Henry Flynt, Ken Friedman, Al Hansen, Cairn Hedland, Geoffrey Hendricks, Ruud Janssen, Ray Johnson, Takehisa Kosugi, Shigeko Kubota, Vytautas Landsbergis, Jackson Mac Low, Barry McCallion, Jim McWilliams, Adolfas Mekas, Gustav Metzger, Larry Miller, Genesis P-Orridge, Dieter Roth, Ric Royer, Wim T. Schippers, Carolee Schneemann, Litsa Spathi, Daniel Spoerri, Yasunao Tone, Yoshi Wada, Emmett Williams, La Monte Young, Jeff Buckley, and Charlotte Mormon.

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