Frustrated with the art they called “imitation, mathematical, and illusionistic art,” a group of international artists in the early 1960s screamed for a transformation of the world through “living art, anti art, and non-art reality.” These artists, with their full-stage performances, experimental poetry and mail art, took the name Fluxus. The group included such artists as Fluxus founder George Maciunas, who organized the concert in which a group of artists, “played” a piano with saws and tools; Yoko Ono, more famous for being the wife of John Lennon, but who in her own right is a prominent figure on the Fluxus scene; and Nam June Paik, who is credited as the founder of Video Art.
Though approximately 48 years after the introduction of the Fluxus movement and its ambitious pioneers, its ideology and attitude can still be seen in all unusual and absurdist formats this weekend in a 52-hour program across New York City during the Performa Visual Art Performance Biennial. The mission is to acknowledge and celebrate the history of Fluxus and its founders while presenting the establishment of new Fluxus actions and ideas in the twenty-first century. The events will include Fluxus actions to take place in the city from Times Square to SoHo to the Lower East Side. Historical and contemporary musicians will also take the stage to perform their interpretations (and no doubt interesting renditions) of lesser-known music while the premiers of new films by young Fluxus-inspired artists explore the legacy of the Fluxus movement and its pioneers. — Nicole Ellul
For more information of Performa, visit the temporary Hub headquarters, which will remain open for the duration of the three-week festival at 233 Mott Street.
Image via Performa 11