Amazingly, Fluxus managed to put into practice what so many artists—whether individual, collective or institutionalized—continue to harp on, though mainly in theory: a program of exemplary openness, versatility and continual surprise. Spearheaded by the suitably charismatic George Maciunas, this was a (very) loose consortium of creative oddballs which included painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, poets, musicians, dancers and even the occasional designer, all of whom had agreed to periodically forsake some of their autonomy in order to join together in fluid, collaborative ensembles, to disband and recombine at the drop of a hat, and to explore to the fullest the possibilities that different configurations afford. Variety was Fluxus’ operational principle; variety of medium and technique complemented by that of the membership, which was evenly, yet unsystematically, distributed across still daunting divides of gender, race, nationality. Even the present enthusiasm for P.C. multi-media product cannot begin to approach the sheer breadth and range of these interdisciplinary endeavors.
This being so, it should come as no surprise that the numerous catalogs and publications which have emerged around Fluxus are likewise varied in the particular focus of their essays and documentation. This book happens to be a very good one—including a surprisingly moving account of the short, weird life of the late Maciunas; a more than adequate selection of the various posters, handbills and other printed ephemera which showcase a graphic sensibility that grows more elegant with each passing year; and a bunch of photographs of a bunch of objects and performances that together define just what it is that has all been done before. JT
Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 142 pages