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Tate Archive


Fluxus was a radical collective of international artists who collaborated in Europe, the USA and Japan during the 1960s and 1970s. Centred around George Maciunas, a Lithuanian-born American artist, Fluxus developed a distinct social and political stance; by-passing the museum system through performance, films and publishing. Like other post-war groups, such as Cobra, the International Situationists and the Nouveaux Réalists, Fluxus responded to, and reacted against, the prevailing social, cultural and artistic climate. By combining elements of Futurist theatre and Dadaist irrationality with the philosophy of Marcel Duchamp and the Zen-based teachings of John Cage, Fluxus created work that was ephemeral, concrete and humourous. The term «Fluxus» was originally intended by Maciunas as the title for a magazine that would publish pieces by avant-garde artists, many of whom had presented their work at his own AG Gallery and at Yoko Ono's loft in New York City in 1960-61. However, Fluxus first came to prominence through a series of performances, organised by Maciunas, in Europe during 1962-63. Beginning at Wuppertal in June 1962, these «concerts» had, by the time they reached Wiesbaden in September 1962, developed into extended festivals. These «Festum Fluxorum» as they became known, subsequently appeared in Copenhagen, Paris, and Düsseldorf, with similar events in London «Festival of Misfits»), Amsterdam, The Hague and Nice. Fluxists include Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, John Cage, Robert Filliou, Henry Flynt, Ken Friedman, Al Hansen, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Ray Johnson, Alison Knowles, Jackson MacLow, Larry Miller, Charlotte Moorman, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Daniel Spoerri, Benjamin Vautier, Wolf Vostell, Robert Watts, Emmett Williams and La Monte Young, among many others.