EXHIBITIONS: Fluxus! ›Anti-art‹ is also art. in Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

Fluxus! ›Anti-art‹ is also art.

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
December 1, 2012 – April 28, 2013

Fluxus 50-year-anniversary Exhibition

Introduction to the exhibition
The “anti-art” FLUXUS has meanwhile long had its place in museums. Yet the endeavour so typical of FLUXUS to blur the boundaries between art and everyday life nevertheless continues to prove highly suspenseful, and to this day inspires thought about our conception of art.

The exhibition “Fluxus! ›Anti-art‹ Is Also Art” sheds light on the main themes and artistic concerns of the FLUXUS movement and inquires into the characteristic ‘anti-aesthetic’ of this art form.

A selection of objects from the rich holdings of the Staatsgalerie’s Sohm Archive is on view. The show commences with a look at George Maciunas, who not only gave Fluxus its name and visual appearance, but also set out to organize it.

At the same time, by juxtaposing him with another important mediator of inter-media art forms – Wolf Vostell – Maciunas’s controversial role as ‘Mr Fluxus’ is addressed.

Left: Geoffrey Hendricks, Flux Relic Dispenser / “Holy Shit from the Diners of the Last Supper”, 1970, © Geoffrey Hendricks 2012
Right: George Maciunas, Fluxus-Vignette, 1964 © All Rights Reserved 2012 , George Maciunas Foundation Inc , New York

The subsequent sections of the presentation show that, apart from Maciunas and Vostell, other artists also played an organizational role and provided important impulses for the development of inter-media art: George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Arthur Köpcke, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Takako Saito, Mieko Shiomi, Ben Vautier, and Robert Watts. Not least of all, the exhibition pays tribute to the great FLUXUS supporter Hanns Sohm, whose archive has been in the possession of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart since 1981.

FLUXUS Turns 50
FLUXUS stands for a movement initiated by visual artists and musicians who radically broke with conventional conceptions of art in the early sixties. In the endeavour to create an anti-elitist and anti-auratic art, the boundaries between art and everyday life, between producer and recipient were softened. The movement’s protagonists shared a rebellious, anti-institutional outlook which, combined with widely diverse forms of artistic expression, brought forth absurd performances, bizarre and playful objects, and witty ‘events’.

“The lunatics are on the loose …” Fluxus Events in Europe 1962–1977
An integral element of the exhibition at the Staatsgalerie is the installation “‘The lunatics are on the loose…’ FLUXUS EVENTS IN EUROPE 1962–1977” by the free-lance curator Petra Stegman, providing the visitors an opportunity for interactive participation. “The lunatics are on the loose…” is the first comprehensive documentation of the European Fluxus events of the sixties and seventies. In addition to insightful information on the historical performances, their reception and their audiences, the installation also sheds light on the development of the Fluxus network.

Hanns Sohm, Charlotte Moorman Performing Nam June Paik’s Concerto for TV Cello, 
Kölnischer Kunstverein 1974, black-and-white photograph, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Archiv Sohm

What’s Happening? The Museum in the City
The Fluxus show is being accompanied by the project “What’s Happening? The Museum in the City” with artistic events and performances in the city of Stuttgart. Within this framework, art will leave the museum institution and spread into the public realm and, in the process, everyday life. “What’s happening” is a call to participate in art and – entirely in keeping with the FLUXUS concept – to pursue the question “What is art?”

The project is being made possible by the Innovationsfonds Kunst of the Ministeriums für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg.

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