Press Release

Mr. Fluxus

An Anthology of Essays, Anti-Film, Documents, Architecture, and Ephemeral Objects

September 16-October 16, 2010

Opening Reception: September 16, 2010 from 6-8pm

Mr. Fluxus
An Anthology of Essays, Anti-Film, Documents, Architecture, and Ephemeral Objects

September 16-October 16, 2010

Curating the exhibition, “Mr. Fluxus,” Stendhal Gallery returns again to examine one of the most intriguing artists of the late twentieth century in, “Mr. Fluxus: An Anthology of Essays, Anti-Film, Documents, Architecture, and Ephemeral Objects.” George Maciunas formed a circle of artists and an attitude called Fluxus, challenging the prevailing art market. 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?” Fluxus has been described, “as the most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties,” and continues to exert considerable influence on contemporary thought and production.

A degreed architect and designer for Knoll, Maciunas focus shifted to avant-garde art, designing publications and organizing festivals promoting American, European and Asian experimental artists such as Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik and Yoko Ono. Drawing from such musical influences as John Cage and La Monte Young, Maciunas designed the publication, “An Anthology,” containing the blueprint for concerts, performances and publications that followed until he passed away in 1978.

The very first work contained in An Anthology, “Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event),”by George Brecht, is dedicated to John Cage. Cage himself contributes the work, “Excerpt from 45’ for a Speaker,” which contains the line, “The thing to do is keep the head alert but empty.” Being alert to ones surrounding and culture without preconceived expectation, best summarizes an approach furthering appreciation of An Anthology.

Conceived in 1961 and published in 1963,  ”An Anthology” contained works by John Cage, George Brecht, Yoko Ono, Dick Higgins, Ray Johnson, Nam June Paik, Diter Rot, and many other artists. The design concept of “An Anthology” was so groundbreaking that it revolutionized and influenced the book/magazine industry, as well as the course of art in the second half of the century, and continues to impact contemporary art.

Stendhal Gallery will be presenting several programs of film selected by Maciunas capturing various Fluxus performances from the sixties and seventies by such artists as Robert Watts and Ben Vautier. Maciunas is portrayed on film during the well-known interview he conducted with Larry Miller.

Maciunas was a Master Architect, Art Historian, and utopian urban planner whose visionary ideals led to the conception and realization of Fluxhouse Co-operatives in Soho, New York, transforming the industrial district into a thriving creative community, Macunias work as a practical architect has been overlooked. Stendhal Gallery exhibition captures Maciunas prescient design skills in a model of prefabricated housing created from blueprints by the George Macunias Foundation, Inc. The exhibition also explores the tale of Ginger Island, one of the more fanciful and storied communal architectural adventures involving Maciunas and his quest for a tropical island get-away for cultural entrepreneurs.

Stendhal Gallery will also display a number of Maciunas charts and diagrams, of growing interest to increased numbers of artists and scholars becoming interested in Maciunas as a cultural historian. Maciunas turned away from elitist art toward one “obtainable by all and eventually produced by all” marking him as one of the great artistic influences of the latter twentieth century. Also on exhibit will be recently acquired Fluxus and Maciunas related archival documents from the Jean-Noel Herlin Collection. Stendhal Gallery is pleased and proud to present his work to an ever-widening appreciative audience.

This exhibition has been produced and organized by Harry Stendhal and sponsored by George Maciunas Foundation Inc.

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