History of Our World

Fluxus | Fluxus, 1995

Posted in Art, Music, Object, Photography, Print by B on December 2, 2009

Joseph Beuys, Manifesto, 1970. Alteration of George Maciunas’ Fluxus Manifesto, February 1963.
From 1. Karton, Edition Hundermark, Berlin 1970. 30 x 21 cm

Fluxus Collective Editions, 1963 – 1965

Fluxus Street Events, March – May 1964. Photograph by George Maciunas

Dick Higgins, Danger Music No.2, 1962. Performance at Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik, Wiesbaden 1962. Photograph by Hartmut Rekort

George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Wolf Vostell, Benjamin Patterson & Emmett Williams performing Philip Corner’s Piano Activities at Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik, Weisbaden 1962. Photograph by Hartmut Rekort

Takeshia Kosugi, Anima I & Ben Vautier, Attaché de Ben & George Maciunas, Solo for Violin.
Simultaneous performance, May 23rd 1964, by Ben Vautier and Alison Knowles (not pictured) during “Fluxus Street Theatre” as part of “Fluxus Festival at Fauxhall” New York City. Photography by George Maciunas. 51 x 40.5 cm

La Monte Young, The Tortoise Droning Selected Tigers From the Holy Numbers for the Two Black Tigers, The Green Tiger and the Hermit, from: The Tortoise, His Dreams and Journeys.
Performed 1964 at the Pocket Thetare, New York. From left; Tony Conrad, Marian Zazeela, La Monte Young and John Cale.  Photo by George Maciunas

Fluxus is not: a movement, a moment in history, an organization. Fluxus is: an idea, a kind of work, a tendency, a way of life, a changing set of people who do Fluxworks -Dick Higgins.

Taken from the Latin word meaning “to flow”, the origins of Fluxus began in the early 1960s with Lithuanian born George Maciunas (1931 – 1978) who’s ideology quickly attracted a large network of artists, composers and designers who continue to express his extraordinary vision in the manifestation of anti-art, encompassing everything from music, photography, sculpture, installation, publications and pavement art to poetry and drama.

Beginning with a series of festivals featuring concerts of new experimental music and other avant-garde performance, Fluxus artists reacted against the commodity status of art, its commercialization in the gallery system, and its static presentation in traditional institutions. They often rejected the concept of artistic genius and single authorship in favor of a collective spirit and a collaborative practice.

Fluxus compositions or scores for performances and events involve simple actions, ideas, and objects from everyday life. Some scores, such as those in George Brecht’s Water Yam (1972), were printed on cards and then packaged into plastic boxes and sold as inexpensive multiples. These scores call for open-ended actions and events that can be performed by anyone at any time in any place. Also on view is Yoko Ono’s Invitation to Participate in a Water Event, in which she invited people to bring containers to her 1971 exhibition. These vessels were filled with water, displayed in the show, and labeled as collaborative works of art.

Sometimes a documentation or artifact from a Fluxus event became a work of art, a material presence that referred to an absent action or previous performance. Alison Knowles’ Journal of the Identical Lunch (1971), documents her ritual noontime performances at a New York diner with various artists and friends. In Dick Higgins’ ongoing series, The Thousand Symphonies, he composes musical scores with bullet holes and paint on sheet music. The result is both a documentation of the artist’s action and a work of visual art.

Incorporating musical compositions, concrete poetry, visual art, and writing, Fluxus performances embody Higgins’ idea of “intermedia”- a dialogue between two or more media to create a third, entirely new art form. Fluxus performance also incorporates actions and objects, artists and non-artists, art and everyday life in an attempt to find something “significant in the insignificant.” The influence of this highly experimental, spontaneous, often humorous form of performance art prevailed through the 1970s and has been rediscovered by a younger generation of artists working today.



Thomas Kellein : George Maciunas : Jon Hendricks

Thames & Hudson




Thames & Hudson


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  1. STUPID SLAVE « legreffon said, on March 15, 2010 at 09:27

    […] YOU STUPID? » Image 2: George Maciunas, «Fluxus Manifesto», 1963 – 1970. Lien « History of our […]

  2. […] demolished the piano altogether. (There’s a great photo of them and the piano halfway down this page.) That original performance has been re-staged numerous times; here’s a 2009 […]

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