After the start in Germany, New York became the hub of decentralized activities; many Fluxus artists lived there either permanently or temporarily, numerous events took place there, and many projects were initiated there worldwide.
The key figure was George Maciunas (1931-1978), who had a strong influence on theory, program and aesthetics. Practices of non-art, the identity of art and (everyday) life and concretism, anti-art, collectivity, participation, do-it-yourself and the conceptual changed the concept of art and still have an impact today. Especially in the art year 2022 with the documenta fifteen curated by the Indonesian artist collective ruangrupa, it is worth taking a look at historical positions.
George Maciunas met important later Fluxus artists as a student in the electronic music class at the New School for Social Research in New York and through Yoko Ono. In 1961 he took up a position as a graphic designer at the US Air Force base in Wiesbaden, quickly made contact with the avant-garde, wrote his first manifestos and, thanks to legendary festivals with international participants in 1962/63 that dissolved the boundaries between disciplines and genres, Fluxus quickly became popular throughout Europe Time to an unmissable trend in art after 1960.
After this spectacular start, Maciunas returned to New York. Fluxus New York: who were the actors? George Brecht, La Monte Young, Shigeko Kubota, Alison Knowles, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Ben Vautier, Ay-O, Mieko Shiomi, to name just a few random names. In addition to concerts, events and street campaigns, newspapers, films and boxes with games, sheet music and everyday objects were created. The corporate design was provided by “Mr. Fluxus”, which also took over the distribution of the mass-produced Fluxus products. The trained architect wrote city history with the Fluxhousing Cooperative, which ushered in gentrification in SoHo.
The exhibits in the exhibition convey the diverse activities of the Fluxus artists and the great generator of ideas and tireless organizer George Maciunas during the New York period. Most of them come from the estate of the avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas, who was a friend of Maciunas' and ended up in the Noartcollect via the Merrill C. Berman Collection. The 2013 documentary film FluxUsNow, also shown in the exhibition at Gutshaus Steglitz. Fluxus explored by Dorothee Richter and Ronald Kolb gives a vivid impression of Fluxus and its protagonists. A catalog with texts by Thomas Kellein and Dorothee Richter will be published by DISTANZ Verlag to accompany the exhibition.