Posts tagged ‘George Maciunas’
Exhibiting Fluxus: Decomposition Contained in Wait Later This Will Be Nothing: Editions by Dieter Roth

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: Mapping Hi Red Center in Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde
Tokyo 1955-70: A New Avant-Garde

Installation view of entrance to Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde at The Museum of Modern Art, November 19, 2012–February 25, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

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

Exhibiting Fluxus: Keeping Score in Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde
Installation view Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde

Installation view of “Sogetsu Art Center and Fluxus” display in Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde at The Museum of Modern Art, November 19, 2012–February 25, 2013. Photo: Jonathan Muzikar

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

Case Study: Mieko Shiomi Interprets Fluxkit

Fluxkit. 1965. Fluxus Edition announced 1964. The Museum of Modern Art. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift

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.

Left: Mieko Shiomi’s arrangement of Fluxkit; right: Installation view of Thing/Thought: Fluxus Editions 1962–1978

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.

Mieko Shiomi's plan for her arrangement of Fluxkit. © 2011 Mieko Shiomi

Mieko Shiomi. Piece for a Small Puddle from Events and Games. 1964. Fluxus Edition announced 1963. The Museum of Modern Art. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift. © 2011 Mieko Shiomi

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.


March 30, 2011  |  Fluxus, Off the Shelf
Off the Shelf: Vintage Fluxus

This is the first post in the new series Off the Shelf, which explores unique MoMA publications from the Museum Archives.

From left: Front Cover: Yoko Ono. Montage incorporating photographic images of Rolf Jährling, Iain Macmillan, Nancy Mee, and Nori Sato. 1988. © 1988 by Yoko Ono. Back Cover: Milan Knizak. Drawing for catalogue cover. 1988. © 1988 by Milan Knizak.

Endpapers: Ben Vautier. Assholes Wallpaper. c. 1974.

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

Unpacking Fluxus: The Joke’s On Us

Confetti from George Maciunas’s New Flux Year. c. 1967. The Museum of Modern Art. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, 2008

Upon opening an orange faux-reptile-skin box marked only with the typed words “top” and “pull,” we received quite a surprise: out jumped a coiled toy snake and a shower of confetti printed with the words “New Flux Year.” Rattled, we soon found that the joke was on us, as we were left returning every last scrap of paper, along with the spring-loaded snake, back into the box before shutting it carefully. Read more

June 30, 2010  |  Artists, Fluxus
Unpacking Fluxus: An Artist’s Release

Note signed by James Riddle (American, born 1933). The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, 2008

We found this note attached to an object shrouded in tissue and quarantined within three Ziploc bags. Read more

May 13, 2010  |  Artists, Fluxus, Pictures By Women
Bottoms Up! Fluxus Wallpaper

Yoko Ono. George Maciunas. Fluxus Wallpaper. c. 1973. Offset. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift

During recent months, Fluxus has begun making waves in MoMA galleries. This past October, Fluxus Preview opened on the fourth floor and continues to provide a sampling of the diverse activities carried out by artists engaged with a rebellious approach in the 1960s and 1970s. Most recently, true to Fluxus’s irreverent sensibility, derrières—hundreds of female asses—have taken over a space on the third floor of the Museum. The work is Yoko Ono and George Maciunas’s Fluxus Wallpaper, which repeats black-and-white close-ups of a human behind from floor to ceiling.

A still from Ono’s Film Number 4 (Bottoms), this wallpapered image is of one of the (allegedly) 365 individuals who walked for the artist’s camera in London during the early 1960s. As Ono once described Film Number 4, it is “like an aimless petition signed by people with their anuses”—a collective mooning in support of the absurd. Maciunas took one of these signature back ends, possibly Ono’s own, and printed it in fashion that enabled the provocation to occupy any receptive surface.

The wallpaper is part of The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift, acquired in 2008. It is currently on display in conjunction with the exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography.