George Maciunas : point d’appui
November 10th, 2011 – January 31st, 2012
George Maciunas/Fluxus Foundation is pleased to announce Point D’appui, the inaugural exhibit at 454 West 19th St, the new exhibition space for George Maciunas / Fluxus Foundation Non for Profit Arts Organization.
“Let Your Nature Do Whatever, It Pleases.”
“One Must Perceive and Express the Universe with One Stroke.”
GM / Fluxus Foundation is devoted to preserving the legacy of Fluxus founder George Maciunas, protecting intellectual property and copyright, promoting the continuation of the ideas and principles this legacy contains.
George Maciunas, one of the most important Post-War artists in New York, was a Lithuanian-American artist best known as the founder and central coordinator of Fluxus from 1962 until in 1978.
Fluxus was as much an attitude as art movement, and Maciunas’s myriad projects and initiatives extended art into other realms of society such as architecture and education. He has had a vital influence on both the life and work of artists who have anteceded him– he is considered to be the “father of SoHo” in New York City because of his initiation of cooperative artist housing in the late 1960s, while the area was a dilapidated post-industrial site.
In the late 1960’s, against the background of mass student demonstrations and with the support of the Carnegie Corporation in New York, Maciunas produced Preliminary Proposal for a 3-dimensional System of Information,Curriculum Plan, and Contemporary Man, three documents that outline a proposal for a new model of education. Maciunas felt that the educational system of his day was inefficient and encouraged premature and arbitrary specialization. In Preliminary Proposals, Maciunas describes a “time-saving, speedily comprehensible, chart-like, 3-dimensional system of information storage and information”. The diagram form lent itself to ordering facts, reducing complexities, and proffering meaning, making the ever-expanding field of knowledge more manageable within a limited time. This “machine” remains the abstract concept of something that is yet to be constructed, a crucible and structuring agent for all the knowledge of the world.
In his detailed chart for Curriculum Plan, Maciunas proposes a structure for a new form of art education that is both pragmatic and experimental. He cites areas of arts education training in “Object Art,” “Environmental Art,” “Graphic Art (& Design),” and “Aural Art”. Through student-run seminars and “experimental education labs”, this educational schema promotes self-determination and cross-disciplinary collaboration and exploration. It expresses the intermedia Fluxus spirit; In a 1962 statement, Maciunas explained that Fluxus erased the borders between “time arts”–arts that unfold diachronically, and “space arts”–physical, non-temporal artworks. “There exist no borderlines,” he wrote, “between one and the other extreme.” Maciunas embodied this cross-disciplinary, cross-medium approach to production; on display in Point D’appui will be Maciunas’s prefabricated house, a sustainable, elevated home. With its low production cost and capacity to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, and floods, this house would abate many of the housing problems in America today.
The creative, autonomous approach to education evident in Maciunas’s charts integrates science, technology, and artistic innovation. This approach stands in stark contrast to the increasingly stratified, standardized, and bureaucratic nature of American higher educational institutions today. Point D’appui is a term from military theory that denotes the place where soldiers gather before marching into battle. It is a decisive stance from which one progresses. In recent months, a point d’appui has emerged in downtown Manhattan in the battle over the American political landscape. Point D’appui at the George Maciunas Foundation addresses how themes such as educational reform, cultural hierarchies, affordable experimental living, and personal autonomy were explored in the Fluxus movement. It examines the ways in which Fluxus, and George Maciunas, initiated a war on culture (flux manifesto), the educational status quo, and the very way in which we conceive of art and life.
Maciunas used his radically inventive work and ideas to move society towards an ideal of freedom, a society in which everyone’s needs are adequately met, enabling them to contribute productively to society. With higher education prohibitively expensive for many, and against the backdrop of critique spurred by today's political movements, Maciunas’s ideas present an interesting example of an educational structure responsive to the needs of its students and the need for radical creativity.
This Exhibition continues through January 31st, 2012