The title of the exhibition Wait Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth befits a number of the works on display that are slowly decomposing in front of spectators’ eyes. This post is dedicated to one particular pocket-sized perishable—Roth’s Pocket Room (Taschenzimmer) from MoMA’s Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection. In 1968, Dieter Roth—who challenged the boundaries of printmaking and publishing by integrating cheese, fruit, sausage, chocolate, and other organic materials into the process—released an unlimited edition comprising a banana slice on stamped paper tucked inside of a plastic container small enough to fit into the owner’s pocket. Read more
Exhibiting Fluxus: Decomposition Contained in Wait Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth
Fluxus currents flow throughout the exhibition Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, not only in the graphic scores discussed in my last blog post, but also in a section devoted to the experimental art collective Hi Red Center. Read more
This is the first post in a new blog series entitled Exhibiting Fluxus, showcasing works from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift that are currently on view. Read more
This past January computer programmer, web designer, and sculptor Cory Arcangel participated in the exhibition “Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions, 1962–78,” by creating his own arrangement of a Fluxkit, the signature compilation of objects created by many Fluxus artists held in a black suitcase. Read more
A postage stamp is a small, government-issued square of paper adhered to mail in order to enable its circulation. An artist’s stamp, in the simplest of terms, is an object that is related to a postage stamp in either its form or content, but which does not necessarily help deliver a letter. Read more
Last month, artist William Pope.L spent a day at MoMA, exploring the collections of artists’ multiples on view in Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions, 1962–1978. While he was here, he produced the above performance video, which incorporates the Fluxkit to incredibly humorous effect. Read more
There was a hint of prank and play in the air at The Museum of Modern Art on November 1. Had you been walking in the Museum’s Marron Atrium that day, you may have gotten caught in a flurry of white cards descending from above. Read more
The opening of Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions, 1962-1978 did not end on the evening of September 21, 2011. As part of the exhibition (on display in The Paul J Sachs Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries through January 16, 2012), six artists have been invited to participate in the exhibition’s organization by “unpacking” and arranging two Fluxkits—the signature compilation of objects by many Fluxus artists stored in black suitcases assembled by George Maciunas, a central organizer and participant. At different points throughout the run of the show, new artists will pull from the kits’ bounty—from posters to lentil beans—and have a hand in the making of this ever-evolving exhibition.
Of the line-up, which includes Alison Knowles, Dora Maurer, Anna Ostoya, Cory Arcangel, and William Pope.L, the first to put the kit to task is one who knows its form well: Mieko Shiomi. The Japanese-born composer and visual artist spent the early years of her career challenging her training as a classical musician. Exploring new possibilities of sound and composition, Shiomi famously made music with instruments’ unused parts. After rubbing shoulders with Tokyo-based artists who had spent time abroad in the early 1960s, including Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, and Toshi Ichiyanagi, Shiomi left her native Japan, and joined the growing contingent of Fluxus artists in New York. Of the works that Shiomi created while working with Maciunas in New York, three (Endless Box, Events and Games, and Water Music) are components of the kits on display.
Although Shiomi’s stay with the Fluxus community in New York was short-lived, she has always overcome the limitations of her locality by embracing the mail service as a means for collaboration and artistic production. True to her ways, Shiomi sent the plans for her current arrangement for the Fluxkit to us from her home in Osaka via the U.S. postal service. Upon unfolding the long, scroll-like plan, my colleagues and I stood in admiration at the painstaking effort she put into the placement of each work. Shiomi’s masterful arrangement fills the cases entirely, and is ordered according to a system of grid-lines that distinguish each artist’s work from the next, while embedding them in a myriad of constellatory relations. While Shiomi certainly did not empty the Fluxkit suitcase entirely (and thus did prioritize certain works over others), the lyrical arrangement of the kit’s contents appears non-hierarchical—making one wonder what, in particular, Shiomi’s discerning hand adds to our understanding of the works before us.
If meaning does not pop out blatantly before our eyes we may need to linger, look, and listen a little differently. We may even need to follow the artist’s lead. The instruction card shown on the right—from Shiomi’s Events and Games, which is on display in the kit—may shed some light on her approach to arranging the kit.
If nothing else, perhaps what we may glean from Shiomi’s display is the particular rhythm of its form—the way she peered upon the “puddle” of papers, cans, and cards. Like the event itself, Shiomi’s process concerns looking both intently and with multiple perspectives.
This is the first post in the new series Off the Shelf, which explores unique MoMA publications from the Museum Archives.
During our intern walkthrough of the exhibition Staging Action: Performance in Photography since 1960, we learned about Yoko Ono and George Maciunas‘s Fluxus Wallpaper, which is displayed along the third-floor hallway at the entrance to Staging Action and Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography. Read more
My father strolled, my uncles strolled, and so does Fluxus. The word “stroller” is not my own. I heard it at my uncle’s funeral. A strange woman said it. I did not know her. I suppose my uncle did. He knew a lot of people. When it came time for folks to say a few words about the deceased, the woman stood up and said, “He was a stroller.” Everyone laughed. At first I thought she was calling him a baby carriage but I knew what she meant. Read more