Fluxus - An art movement begun in 1961/1962, which flourished throughout the 1960s, and into the 1970s. Characterized by a strongly Dadaist attitude, Fluxus promoted artistic experimentation mixed with social and political activism, an often celebrated anarchistic change. Although Germany was its principal location, Fluxus was an international avant-garde movement active in major Dutch, English, French, Swedish, and American cities. Its participants were a divergent group of individualists whose most common theme was their delight in spontaneity and humor. Fluxus members avoided any limiting art theories, and spurned pure aesthetic objectives, producing such mixed-media works as found poems, mail art, silent orchestras, and collages of such readily available materials as scavanged posters, newspapers, and other ephemera. Their activities resulted in many events or situations, often called "Aktions" — works challenging definitions of art as focused on objects -- performances, guerilla or street theater, concerts of electronic music — many of them similar to what in America were known as Happenings.
In Latin and other languages, "Fluxus" literally means "flow" and "change." Similarly, the related English word "flux" is used variously to mean "a state of continuous change," "a fusion," and "a gushing of fluid from a body."
George Maciunas (Lithuanian-American, 1931-1978) coined the name Fluxus. He described it as "a fusion of Spike Jones, gags, games, Vaudeville, Cage and Duchamp." He co-ordinated and edited numerous Fluxus publications.
According to George Maciunas, Fluxus intended to "purge the world of bourgeois sickness . . . of dead art," to "promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, anti-art, promote non art reality . . ." and to "fuse the cadres of cultural, social, and political revolutionaries into a united front and action."
Fluxists include Joseph Beuys, George Brecht (German, 1926-), John Cage (American, 1912-1992), Robert Filliou (French, 1926-1987), Henry Flynt (American, 1940-), Ken Friedman, Al Hansen (1927-1995), Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins (American, 1938-), Ray Johnson (American, 1927-1995), Alison Knowles (American, 1933-), George Maciunas, Jackson MacLow (American, 1922-), Larry Miller (American), Charlotte Moorman (American, 1940-1994), Yoko Ono (Japanese-American, 1933- ; married to the "Beatle" John Lennon), Nam Jun Paik (Korean-American, 1932-), Daniel Spoerri (Swiss, 1930-), Benjamin Vautier (French, 1935-), Wolf Vostell (German, 1932-), Robert Watts, Emmett Williams (American, 1925-), and La Monte Young (American, 1935-), among many others.
Joseph Beuys (German, 1921-1986), Infiltration homogen für Konzertflügel (Homogeneous Infiltration for Piano), 1966, piano covered with felt and leather, 100 x 152 x 240 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Joseph Beuys, Plight, 1958/1985, installation: 43 rolls of felt, piano, black table, thermometer, 310 x 890 x 1813 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Joseph Beuys, Die Haut (The Skin), 1984, felt and leather, 100 x 152 x 240 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Robert Filliou (French, 1926-1987), 7 Childlike Uses of Warlike Material, 1970, installation of wood, metal, broken glass, various objects, tools, clothing, 182 x 400 x 90 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Robert Filliou, Musique télépathique n° 5 (Telepathic Music #5), 1976-1978, installation of metal and cardboard, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Daniel Spoerri (Swiss, 1930-), Prose Poems, 1959-60, mixed media on wood, 27 1/.8 x 21 3/.8 x 14 1/4 inches (69.0 x 54.2 x 36.1 cm), Tate Gallery, London — an actual meal as abandoned on a board. Could such a sculpture be considered an ontbijt?! See rhopography and Swiss art.
Daniel Spoerri, Daniel Isaac Spoerri-Feinstein, 1977, lithograph on paper, 89.0 x 59.6 cm, Tate Gallery, London. The subject is the pages of the artist's well-used passport.
Wolf Vostell (German, 1932-1998), 100 mal Hören und Spielen (100 Bad Hours and Talk), 1969, radio tube, electric son [?], newsprint, plastic bag, sugar, wax, 132 x 102 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Erik Dietman (Swedish, 1937-), The Unwell Saw, 1961, saw and bandage, 5 x 51 x 12 x 0 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
George Brecht / Ben / Emmett Williams / La Monte Young / George Maciunas / Takako Saito / Geoffrey Hendricks / Joe Jones / Larry Miller / Bob Watts / Jock Reynolds / Albert Fine, Spell your name with these objects, 1976, plastic box containing diverse materials, printed card, 2.9 x 9.4 x 7.5 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.
Also see conceptual art, drawing, interdisciplinary, museum, sculpture, and Surrealism.