A COLLECTION OF CORPSES FOUND IN
MUSEUM FOUNDATIONS BY A FLUXUS CHILD - Jorge
Picasso Museum in Paris, spring: A group of children sit on the floor
in front of one of those Marie- Thérèse Walter’s abstract
portraits Picasso made. The teacher asks them to speak their
impressions on what they are seeing. One child about 6 years old says:
“Oh! No! She’s smiling, she’s happy” corrects the teacher. No
other child offers any other comment.
Madrid, summer at a Press conference in El Retiro gardens. An artist is
in anger because some vandals have destroyed his outdoors sculptures by
the Rose Garden. The journals that morning show in front page some
photos of the broken sculptures with the headline: “New Art
Revolution”. The journalist assumed that this was the way in which the
sculptures were conceived by the artist.
There is a painter in Berlin who reached international stardom with his
“Number 1” series of paintings. He has been twenty years drawing with
carbon a huge number “1” on a white canvas. He did it every day at 10
During all these years he had had a personal assistant who helped him
with everything in his professional and personal life 24 hours a day,
sending to Museums, galleries and art collectors those
number 1 paintings at 10.30 a.m.
This morning the personal assistant was late, because he had diarrhoea
and sent the number 1 painting of the day at 12 a.m. He has been fired
with no mercy.
A middle class family gathers around TV on a Xmas Eve in Cracovia. When
Rock Hudson appears on the screen a ten year old boy says “Oh this man
is really handsome!” His older brother, in his 14s, slaps him in the
face and says “You don’t have to have any kind of opinion on this!”
Everybody remain silent. The younger one cries.
Madrid - June - 1975: Only those who made a hyperrealist charcoal
drawing of a classical statue, to the likes of the jury, were admitted
to the Fine Arts School.
Madrid - June – 1976: Only those who made an abstract painting, to the
likes of the jury, were admitted to the Fine Arts School.
Rugby and wrestling were sports invented for muscled men who loved
muscled men in a time in which homosexuality were banned. It was the
closest way they found to have sex among men in the open without being
1925 in the outskirts of Honfleur (France) a musician is hugging trees
and crying. In a whisper he says: “I love you, because you have never
In Bilbao, the authorities shut down the microphone of a widow when she
was addressing to the people who attended the funeral of her husband
killed by a terrorist group. The representatives of the Law argued that
the widow wasn’t politically correct when called assassins to the
assassins of her husband.
Today, a mass of immigrant Chinese workers is marching on the streets
of the city of Mataró (Barcelona) as a protest for being
released by the police from the illegal factory where they were working
15 hours a day by just 30 euros a day during the last ten years. They
are shouting: “¡VIVAN LAS CADENAS!” (CHEERS FOR THE CHAINS!)
Madrid, summer 2009
Box art part of 'Fluxhibition' at UT Arlington
News Release — 9 July 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media contact: Teresa Newton, (817) 272-2761, email@example.com
ARLINGTON - A box is a box is a box ... except
when it's art.
The box as an expressive medium is the premise
of Fluxhibition #3:
Thinking Inside of the Box, an exhibit that runs through July at the
University Center Gallery at The University of Texas at Arlington.
Touchon, the exhibit's curator and a UT Arlington graduate, put the
exhibit together in two months, asking artists around the world to
contribute boxes for the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage
and Construction and the FluxMuseum, both of which are housed in his
Fort Worth home.
Among these boxes are political messages,
personal stories, jokes,
social commentary, inventions, commemorative works, obsessive passions,
homage to other artists, games, gadgets, dead bugs, a rotten egg from
Macedonia, family heirlooms from Demark, handmade objects, scientific
paraphernalia from the EPA, training kits, the hair of virgins, magic
boxes, hidden compartment boxes, a pot of lightning from Greece, air
from Colorado and even a bottle "chock full of God."
Fluxus - a Latin word meaning "to flow" - is an
network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending
different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been
active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature,
urban planning, architecture and design. Artist George Maciunas
organized the first Fluxus exhibit in 1961 in New York City.
is not really a particular style of art," he said of Fluxus. "The idea
of a box as a medium is a key for Fluxus. It's conceptual art ... it
has some sort of performance art as part of it."
Touchon became involved with the Fluxus
community in the 1970s.
While finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the spring at UT
Arlington, he learned the University Center Gallery needed a summer
exhibit. Touchon went online to ask Fluxus artists to contribute to an
Within two months, he received works from
artists in 18 different
countries. Yoko Ono, who was a member of the original Fluxus community,
also sent work.
"It was a really extraordinary effort and is an
amazing show," Touchon said.
An exhibit reception is scheduled for 6-8 p.m.
Friday, July 10, at
the University Center Gallery in the E.H. Hereford University Center,
300 W. First St.
The Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to
The exhibition is sponsored by the Student Art
Association at UT Arlington.
More information is on the FluxMuseum Web site
Also the IMCAC museum Web site is www.collagemuseum.org.
THINKING INSIDE OF THE BOX
Fluxus Boxes, Cases, Kits
and Containers from the Permanent Collection
Artists from 17 countries!
more than 120 works
See Show Online
Andrew Riley Clark (ARC), Roberto Munguia, Christine
Tarantino, Keith Buchholz (Fluxus Saint Louis), Willian Picasso
Cauli Laszlo, Christine Blackwell, Nazimova Boheme, Scott Ray Randall,
Bukoff (Fluxus Midwest), Gregory Steel, Ken Friedman, Stewart Home,
Reichert, Janet Jones, Ellen Filreis, Costis, Ed Blackburn, Kate
Stephanie Forsyth, Cecil Touchon (Fluxus Laboratories), Lisa Caroll,
Gorman, Josh Ronson, Jorge Artajo, Gary Bibb, Nico Vassilakis, Allan
Elizabeth K. Bogard, Bibiana Maltos Padilla, Dilar Pereira, John M.
Rebecca Cunningham, Peter Swann, Marianne Lettieri, Reid Wood, Jamie
Lis Gundlach Sell, Sam Tan, Matthew Rose, Evelyn Eller, Luc Fierens,
Horsky, Judith Stadler, Larry Miller, Norman Sherfield, Liz Yates,
Waite, Michelle N. Ary, Erica James, Clint Chadsey, Nancy Keeling,
Tucker, Benoit Piret (Ben Tripe), Cordula Kagemann, Rick D. Adkins,
Spathi, Nicholas Wood, Don E. Boyd, Antonio Sassu & Gruppo
Ricciardi, Antonio Picardi, Rachel Lawrence(Fluxmass), Angela
Pronoblem(Fluxmass), Alexandra Holownia, Tulio Restrepo, Linda Renz,
Towers, Natascha Mattmuller, David Dellafiora, Reed Altemus, Guido
Snappy, Denis Chamot, Buz Blurr, Angela Behrendt, Matthew Lee Knowles,
Halbritter, Valentina Calendrina, Yoko Ono, Dewi, Boog, Kelly Courtney,
Lancilloto Bellini, Carla Cryptic, Alan Bowman, Ex Post Facto, David
Chirot, Carol Starr, Maurizio Fillin, Bruno Chiarlone, Lex Loeb,
Madawg, Mikeal And, Clark Whittington,
Pierpaolo Limongelli, Mailarra, Ed Schenk, Christine Chaponniere, Ann
Ann Seltzer, William R. Howe, Melissa
Gray, Robert Kirkbride, Caule Violeta, Chris Mudhead Reynolds, Angelo Ricciardi
and Antonio Picardi.
Marie Stockhill, Pal
Csaba, Linn Craig, Zachary
Scott Lawrence, Christina Stahr, Laura Dunn, Elaine Roy, Lee
Peterson, Bob Rizzo, Lisa Nordstrom.
National Public Radio Interview Preparatory
Thinking about an interview for the local
Public Radio station for Morning
Edition and/or All
Things Considered, I thought I might jot down a few notes of
things I might like to discuss in the few minutes that I will have for
This exhibition, Fluxhibition #3: Thinking Inside of the Box, is the
culmination till the present of my ideas related to the Art Museum as a
kind of new artistic genre. This show is a combination of two different
shows that share a common link which is the box as an expressive
medium. Collage and assemblage artists were asked to contribute a box
for the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction:
collagemuseum.com and later, for the Fluxmuseum at fluxmuseum.org,
through the networks of Fluxus artists I am involved with who were
asked to create and contribute a box, or case or fluxkit when an
opportunity came up via Zack Greer of the Student Art Association to
use the University gallery at UTA for the summer.
In a matter of just a few weeks enough buzz was created through the
internet to put this show together with artists participating from all
over the world. It is extraordinary really, what we can do via the
internet. This recognition of the power of the internet, in fact has
been at the root of my endeavors since 1994 when I first started
comprehending how radically it would change the world.
What we see in this show are examples of works from
the collage/assemblage artists community, the Fluxus community and the
mail-art community - what is known as the Eternal Network pioneered
early on by people like Ray Johnson.
All three of these communities have intertwining histories and shared
interests that go back to , the Dadaists, Futurists, Surrealists and
key artists such as Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell.
Fluxus arose as a loose community of artists through the efforts of
George Maciunas who, in 1961, invented the word and then worked
diligently to develop an international artists community with Fluxus
being its name. This included people like George Brecht who just died
earlier this year, Yoko Ono (who has donated a work for this show),
John Lennon, Claus Oldenberg, Christo, etc. It is not really a
particular style of art but there are certain important innovations
that Fluxus is credited with such as the wide spread use of the event
score, instructions, performance, inter-media, concept based art,
collaborative and communal art, etc. as well as a strong interest in
global community and the inter-cultural exchange of ideas.
This interest in global community and collaboration is at the core of
why this extraordinary show was able to be conceived, coordinated and
executed in less than two months time. Why have we done it? Just to
show that we can, that Fluxus is alive and well and for the simple joy
of sharing with each other. Most participating artists will never see
this show. For this reason I have gone to great lengths to document the
show and make sure that everyone can admire each other from afar via
the Museum’s website fluxmuseum.org.
Coming back to the exhibition, we see in this show, really, as Gary
Bibb has noted, a “summation and clarification of all the previous
artistic ideologies regarding tangible objects” or you might say
certainly, an accumulation of many artistic trends and ideas that have
been developing in the art world for the last 100 years.
While the objects in this exhibition are not organized in any certain
way, the over all theme of the box brings a unifying quality to the
exhibition. Yet within this unity a great deal of diversity in terms of
intention or purpose is apparent. Among these boxes are political
messages, personal stories, jokes, social commentary, inventions,
commemorative works, obsessive passions, homages to other artists,
games, gadgets, dead bugs, a rotten egg from Macedonia, family
heirlooms from Demark, handmade objects, scientific paraphernalia from
the EPA, training kits, the hair of virgins, magic boxes, hidden
compartment boxes, A pot of lightning from Greece, air from
Colorado and even a bottle chock full of God.
There are those artists whose central interest is
the world of objects and ways to organize them, sometimes with a
narrative in mind such as the work by Mobius Artists Group
artist/composer/performer Jane Wang from Boston called “Box of
Failures” that documents personal events. Sometimes artists are
interested in the romance of unknown private histories such as the
little box by Peter Swann from the UK entitled “For Life-Like Snaps”
related to English summer cottages in the 20th century. Some artists
are driven by the aesthetic appeal of the objects gathered such as the
highly sensitive San Francisco artist and print-maker Janet Jones in
her work ‘Q & A Box’.
We see some examples, of a more Fluxus nature where the box
object is intended as a performance such as in Reid Wood’s ‘Fluxbox’
with hidden objects that the viewer is instructed to shake and perhaps
figure out what is inside with their ears instead of their eyes. Other
boxes are the artifacts of Fluxus performances such as the set of boxes
of organ parts from a 2006 performance “Organ F - Ride an Organ, Burn
an Organ” by Rebecca Cunningham and Fluxus crew in Australia who
stirred up quite a controversy when, with a $3,000.00 government grant,
held a Fluxus performance in which she cut up a piano with a chain saw
and burned up an organ. This is dangerous stuff!
Many Fluxus art works have a performance element involved with
their making or imply performance in one way or another. This tradition
has a lot to do with a number of seminal Fluxus artists having studied
with John Cage in New York City. This connection led to a lot of
experimentation in inter-media – or in other words, breaking down the
barriers between one genre and another. This idea goes all the way back
to early modernist experiments in multi-sensory artistic events
combining sound, theatre, music, visual art, performance, dance, etc.
which culminated into Fluxus Happenings in the 1960’s.
In fact, among the contributions to the show are a number of
videos and recordings to be seen either through the ‘box’ of a
television screen or heard through speaker boxes. I am hoping that I
may be able to show these extra works during the exhibition or possibly
have an evening – to be arranged – when folks can gather to see and
This is really quite a special opportunity to peak inside the
secret life of an art community that for the most part has remained
intentionally hidden from view for its nearly fifty year history. I
would venture to say that if you asked one thousand people here in the
Dallas/Fort Worth area if they had ever even heard of the word Fluxus
nine-hundred and ninety-nine of them would say “no”. Yet Fluxus artists
and ideas have had a major impact on the wider artistic community.
While some art historians will say Fluxus is a phantom from the past,
the Fluxus burgeoning community, in fact, is more dynamic than ever
with literally thousands of artists involved to one degree or another.
I believe this exhibition is evidence of its ongoing vitality and
In conclusion, I would just like to say thank you to all of the
wonderful artists who have contributed works to the museum for this
show. I am hoping to interest other institutions in mounting
exhibitions of these works. It certainly deserves to be seen far and
wide and, I believe, will be inspiring to many who get the opportunity
to take the whole thing in.
| July 17, 2009
411 #2, rolled-up phonebook pages, wire,
black frame, 2009
- KERA radio story:
- Extended online story:
Anarchic and whimsical, Fluxus
was a little-known art movement in the '60s — little-known, even though
Yoko Ono was an occasional and influential Fluxite. (John Lennon once
quipped that everyone knew who Yoko was yet no one knew what she did.)
But the movement arguably died out in the '70s — although a Fort Worth
artist, author and home-grown museum curator disagrees. As proof, he
has assembled the current show, Fluxhibition
#3, in the student gallery at the University of Texas
Most art museum directors would have us
believe that running an art museum is an all-consuming job. Yet Cecil Touchon
runs two, three, maybe four — out of his own home. Actually, out of his
standing in the living
room of a three-bedroom, ranch-style house in Fort Worth, and the
entire living room is wall-to-wall metal shelving housing boxes,
plastic containers full of collages and arts supplies."
These are not just any overflowing
shelves. Touchon is a successful
artist with his boldly-colored collage works selling in New York and
Santa Fe galleries. They've been featured in Interior Design
But what’s taking over his house are other
artworks. For a decade, Touchon has been exchanging pieces through the
mail with fellow artists. The resulting collections he’s boxed up and
crowded into his living room.
TOUCHON: "It's all part of the Ontological
Museum of the International Post-Dogmatist Group. There’s
the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction, and
then Fluxus Laboratories is here. Oh, and FluxShop.
Yeah – you know you’ve got a real Fluxus product when you have a
FluxShop gold stamp on it like these. [laughs]"
In 1961, Fluxus was christened (and
loosely organzed) by George Maciunas,
a Lithuanian-American who eventually sought to establish
"Fluxfestivals" in Europe. Paradoxically — meaning, in this case,
fittingly — the word "flux" refers to both "flowing" (as in water or
energy) and "fusing together" (as in soldering metals). Maciunas and
his fellow Fluxites were inspired by Dada,
the mocking, anti-traditionalist art movement that came out of World
War I, pioneered by artists Tristan Tzara, Marcel Duchamp, Hugo Ball
and Jean Arp.
apparent irrationality, the deadpan jokes aimed at political and art
establishments, the use of pointless mechanisms to spoof technology,
the love of paradox, inversion and mass-manufactured products: All of
these Dada traits re-appeared in Fluxus (which was originally termed
"Neo-Dada"). Fluxus set out, Maciunas wrote, to purge the world of
"dead art" and "bourgeois sickness" through a "fusion of
Spike Jones, gags, games, vaudeville, Cage and Duchamp."
Lis Gundlach-Sell, An Heirloom from My Aunt
Augusta, brass caster wheel from grand piano,
display box, 2009
In the early '60s, Yoko Ono's performance
efforts (what Maciunas
called "neo-Haiku theater") and composer John Cage's experimental music
— with his use of random sounds and silence — were major influences on
Fluxus. Flux artists specialize in noise music, brief performance
works, puzzles and games, as well as "intermedia." They refuse to
conform to the restrictions of paintings or sculptures or theater,
preferring to blend or muddle them. Curiously, Fluxus has also been
influential on architecture because of Maciunas' early interest in prefab buildings.
A typical Fluxus project was Maciunas' Flux Rain Machine
(right), a little, clear plastic box with a bit of water in it. The
water condenses and forms droplets on the inside of the box. Voila
Another plastic Fluxbox by Keith Buchholz
holds a pair of dice. The cover declares, “Roll 13 and Win!”
But a pair of dice can only add up to 12. Voila — futility
and the illusion of easy prosperity.
One reason that Fluxus isn't more widely
known, I'd suggest, is that
its ideas and elements were various (and contradictory) enough that
they could easily morph into or be absorbed by the larger waves in '60s
art, particularly pop art and conceptual art. To a degree, both of
these also had origins in Dada, so the flow of Fluxeteers into their
ranks is not surprising.
Even so, Flux artworks are often
distinguished by their manufacture:
They're cleverly made from cheap, ordinary, even scruffy materials,
including human hair, cardboard, string, discarded books, clothing,
broken crockery and novelty-store items. These "found objects" are
deliberately not employed for museum-quality masterworks. The
pieces are ephemeral and disposable, even self-destructive.
They're more like junk. With a sense of
Jon Hendricks is a Fluxus scholar and the curator of
a major Fluxus archive, the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection,
which was recently donated to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
HENDRICKS: "Maciunas’ idea of Fluxus was
to move away from art that
was something precious to something where art can become a part of
A utopian, Maciunas deemed that the entire
'art industry' — museums,
theaters, galleries, concert halls, everything — should die and be
replaced by radically simple artworks that anyone could do. Maciunas
also disliked the idea of the heroic individual artist. He
preferred collaborative and group efforts. Which inspired his use of
boxes. He borrowed the idea from Marcel Duchamp's Boite-en-Valise and
Joseph Cornell's famous shadow boxes.
But for Maciunas, Hendricks notes, the box isn't a way of framing and
fusing together disparate objects through a single artist's
sensibility. A box is a way to contain contributions from dozens of
artists. They're like little museums that way — or anthologies. Indeed,
Maciunas' first boxes were called "editions" and they were like
yearbooks, compiled annually from various efforts by Fluxites.
In Fort Worth, Touchon’s mail exchanges with other artists and his
boxed-up collections eventually led to his assembling Fluxhibition
at UT-Arlington — which he was able to do very quickly with works
submitted from around the world. The show is sub-titled “Thinking
Inside of the Box.” It features 140 kits, cases, tubes, cans,
birdhouses, bottles and containers — including a piece by Yoko Ono
herself, a limited-edition, yellow Japanese box containing a poem,
"We're All Water" (above). Through the course of the exhibition, we see
the box as utility item and metaphor, the box as a little stage, as
board game, toolkit, toy set, parfait glass, map case, juggling pin,
animal cage and laboratory sample — just about everything, perhaps,
except the box as coffin. Touchon likes to point out that even a
website can be a box — and he's created several linked,
In fact, his entire exhibition is mounted to the walls of the gallery
on shelves made of the cardboard boxes that will be used to ship it to
its next home.
It’s a touring show — in a box.
But — is it
Hendricks see Fluxus fading
after 1978 with Maciunas’ death and with the other Flux artists going
in new directions (echoing what a number of early Dadaists did when
they turned to Surrealism in the '20s). So Fluxus belongs to a specific
historic era — just like Impressionism or Cubism. Today, you could call
your artwork Fluxus or Cubist, and Hendricks says, it still could be
interesting. But it won’t have the same meaning, the same revelation.
Times change, people change. What was fresh can now feel redundant or
HENDRICKS: "Movements do tend to have a
kind of time frame, a period when they are essential, when they have to
Touchon argues that this is the way
collectors and curators think,
not artists. Collectors want movements to be limited to a period, a
place, a canon of select works. This increases the value of their own
collections. Ironically, Touchon himself is clearly a manic collector.
But for him, while Flux artists may play with boxes, Fluxus
itself can’t be contained in
one. The impulses behind Dada and Fluxus, he believes, resurface during
certain periods (World War I, the Cold War, the Bush years). Besides,
he notes, over the years, Fluxus works have often been produced by
artists in their spare time (making an actual living at it would be
directly counter to Maciunas' ideas. Not surprisingly, he died
impoverished). For them, Fluxart is a low-cost sideline, as it were, a
way to stretch the aesthetic muscles, an intellectual game that doesn't
have to pay the bills.
Which means the Fluxkits and Fluxcreations
are likely to go on –
[VOICEOVER intercuts with sounds of
Touchon picking through the boxes in his house]:
TOUCHON: "So there’s more … " [rummages]
– and on –
TOUCHON: "This is full …" [rummages]
TOUCHON: "I think this is one of them
So — has Touchon ever thought of rental
TOUCHON: "Well, I’m considering that at
this point. But I’m still
actually organizing the collection to tell you the truth. [Laughs.]"
Fluxhibition #3 runs through July 31
at the E. H. Hereford
University Center Gallery at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Cecil Touchon has already posted a call for
contributions to Fluxhibition #4: Fluxus Amusements, Diversions,
Games, Tricks and Puzzles.
July 1-31 2009 at: The Gallery. E.H.Hereford University
Center - University of Texas at Arlington - Arlington, Texas
on Yoko Ono's ImaginePeace.com
Catalog will be available
quality full color posters printed on heavy, glossy photographic paper
available for sale to participants for:
18x24 inches - $25.00 + $10.00S&H
Support Future Exhibitions!
Retail for these posters is $49.95 + $10.00S&H
Statement about Fluxhibition #3
by Gary Bibb
This may well be one of the most significant
art exhibits of its kind - certainly of the early 21st century.
There are a small handful of established exhibitions designed to
showcase the current state of the arts, such as the Venice Biennale;
however, what's amazing about this exhibit is that it's not organized
by a major institution (along with
the inherent politics), but rather by a group of artists who truly are
in life's trenches - where the "real world" interfaces with artistic
Although it revolves around Fluxus concepts, it's more of a summation
and clarification of all the previous artistic ideologies regarding
tangible objects as pertintent to subjective content: Duchamp, Cornell,
Rauschenberg and beyond. This is a global art statement by the
"cultural canaries." From personal idiosyncrasies to social
commentaries, Fluxhibition #3: Thinking Inside Of The Box is a treasury
full of artifacts collected while on the grand adventure of
Note from Billie Maciunas
(widow of Fluxus founder George Maciunas)
"Hi Cecil, I wanted to let you know that I think
the current exhibition
is very cool. The publisher and the designer of my forthcoming book
both sent in boxes. They told me how much fun they had making the boxes
and how liberating it was to do art without being judged. I think this
is exactly what fluxus is about. Have fun, don't judge, be inclusive.
thank you for doing this--I hope you are having fun too!"
just to let you know i have linked you from
also, am so taken with ALL you are doing.
bravo to the nth degree.
also, was so taken with billie's note i have
quoted a few words from her at flux-usa (i'll let her know).
as she so aptly wrote we are about fun,
non-judgment. fluxus artists continue to lead the way and you are
bringing this awareness to the public eye.
with warm regards,
Proof of Catalog for Fluxhibition #3
(big file 81.5