Charting Fluxus: George Maciunas’s Ambitious Art History

Mar 6–May 6, 2013


George Maciunas. Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other 4 Dimentional, Aural, Optic, Olfactory, Epithelial and Tactile Art Forms, annotated by Alison Knowles. 1973. Offset lithograph, 67 15/16 × 23 1/16″ (172.5 × 58.5 cm). Designer: George Maciunas. Publisher: Fluxus. The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift
  • Education Center The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building

Fluxus was an international network of artists active in the 1960s and 1970s. Through the tireless efforts of its founder George Maciunas, Fluxus presented festivals and concerts and distributed artists’ multiples, which Maciunas fabricated in his Soho loft. Collective, performative, anti-institutional, and irreverent, Fluxus sought to bridge the gaps between different artistic mediums and between art and life.

In 1973 Maciunas announced his intention to design a grand art history chart, an exhaustive chronicle of Fluxus that would also narrate the movement’s origins since the beginning of performance-based art. Later that year, he produced the breathtakingly detailed Diagram of Historical Development of Fluxus and Other 4 Dimentional, Aural, Optic, Olfactory, Epithelial and Tactile Art Forms, which he called, simply, “the chart.”

The chart positions Fluxus, often relegated to an art historical footnote, as the culmination of a distinguished artistic lineage. It elucidates connections between various artistic phenomena that are often considered only in isolation.

Maciunas’s chart—which he never considered complete—reveals not only the history of Fluxus but also an ambitious reckoning with modernism and its legacy. This exhibition of objects in the Museum’s Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Archives presents the “final” 1973 version of Maciunas’s chart alongside archival documentation that illustrates its genesis and its significance in the very history of art it maps.

The exhibition is organized by Julia Pelta Feldman, Project Archivist, Museum Archives.


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