FLUXUS - 2007
FLUXUS - FLUXUS EAST ET ATHENES - 2007-10-21
A Berlin FLUXUS EST ils me demandent
en hommage à Kantor
une photo de moi
dirigeant la mer en chef d'orchestre
Je me souviens l'avoir fait deux fois
une fois en 1968 et une fois
à Castel Plage en 2002
Si quelqu'un a une photo de ces deux performances
qu'il me les envoie
Je suis content parce qu'à Athènes
nous avons discuté longtemps
Ben Paterson et moi avec Lorenda
et le dimanche après notre départ elle a donné un concert Fluxus qui a eu beaucoup de succès.
J'ai l'impression que Fluxus grâce à Lorenda
est une graine qui va pousser de façon fantastique à Athènes
NL ATHENES FLUXUS (SUITE)
Grande conversation pleine de rires avec Ben Paterson.
Il va demander à la Goethe Institut
et je vais demander à l'Afaa de nous envoyer
en stage artistique
respectivement lui au Pôle Nord
et moi au Pôle Sud
Il y a plusieurs avantages :
pas de vernissage
pas de discours officiels
pas de presse.
FLUXUS - FLUXUS EAST INFORMATION - 2007-09-24
DEAR PETRA AND EAST FLUXUS FRIENDS
just recieved east fluxus program
what t a text what a program!
names names names
and dates dates
my health is not good but i will try to come
FOR My FRENCH AND ENGLISH FREINDS COMING TO BERLIN
HERE IS MY TRANSLATION OF YOUR PROGRAM
FLUX IS NOT DEAD, IT JUST SMELLS FUNNY...
I LIKED THAT SENTANCE
BUT IF ONLY IT COULD BE TRUE
AN ADRESS WHERE TO GO
Künstlerhaus Bethanien | Mariannenplatz 2 | 10997 Berlin
A DATE NOTE TO FORGET
27. Sept - 4. Nov 2007 | Mi bis So 14 - 19 Uhr | Eintritt fre
THERE WILL BE PERFORMANCES BY AND OF THESSE FANTASTC NAMES
| Eric Andersen | Tamás St. Auby | Geoffrey Hendricks | Milan Kníz_ák | Alison
Knowles | Larry Miller | Ben Patterson | Slave Pianos | Ben Vautier |Gábor Altorjay, Eric Andersen, Tamás St. Auby,
Azorro, Robert Filliou, György Galántai, Geoffrey
Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Tadeusz Kantor,
Milan Kníz_ák, Alison Knowles, Július Koller,
Jaros_aw Koz_owski, Vytautas Landsbergis,
George Maciunas, Jonas Mekas, Larry Miller, Ben
Patterson, Mieko Shiomi, Slave Pianos, Endre Tót,
Nomeda und Gediminas Urbonas, Jir_í Valoch,
Branko Vuc_ic_evic_, Emmett Williams u.v.a.
SCHOLARS WILL BE ABLE TO FIND ALL ABOUT FLUXUS
(anti-)artistic, international network with centres
in the USA Western Europe and Japan.
But what about this "intermedia" art -
(AN ANDERSEN SMELL )
art encompassing music, actions, poetry, objects and events
- beyond the "Iron Curtain"?
What echo did Fluxus find in the states of the former Eastern Bloc,
and what parallel developments existed there?
As a "programme of action",
THEN I READ WITH CURIOSITY THAT
", Fluxus - according to its self-styled "chairman",
the exiled Lithuanian George Maciunas
in a letter to Nikita Chrus_c_ev - KROUTCHEV?
was predestined to bring about unity between
the "concretist" artists of the world and the "
concretist" society of the USSR.
Maciunas planned Fluxus as a collective
based on the model of the Russian LEF
(Left Front of the Arts)i
But these plans - e. g. for a perfoRmance tour by the artists
on the Trans-Siberian Railway -,
developed with polished communist rhetoric in manifestos and letters,
were to remain no more than a utopia.
AFTER 1962, A DIFFERENT FLUXUS EAST DEVELPED
through creative exchange between Fluxus artists
and artists/musicians of the former Eastern Bloc, leading
to events including concerts with Fluxus compositions
broadcast by Polish Radio (1964),
Fluxus concerts in Lithuania (1966), Prague (1966) and Budapest (1969),
and later a Fluxus Festival in Poznan_ (1977).
IN FACT THE SHOW "FLUXUS EAST" represents a first
stocktaking of the diverse Fluxus
activities in the former Eastern Bloc; the ex hibition shows
parallel developments and artistic practices inspired by Fluxus,
which are still adopted by some
young artists today. Besides the "classic" Fluxus objects,
the display will include photographs, films, correspon-
dence, secret police files, interviews and recordings of music
that document the presence of Fluxus in the former
Eastern Bloc. As an interactive exhibition,
aims to facilitate a profound encounter with ideas,
works and texts - some presented as facsimiles to permit intense study.
IT WILL possible to play at FLUX PING PONG, and visitors are also invited
to explore the POIPOIDROME by Robert Filliou.
KONFERENZ | CONFERENCE
Fluxus Networks between West and East
Haus der Kulturen der Welt | John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10 | 10557 Berlin
Art Forum Berlin | Messedamm 22 | 14055 Berlin
27. - 29. Sept 2007 | in englischer Sprache |
Eintritt frei, wenn nicht anders angegeben
27 - 29 Sept 2007 | in English | free admission, if not stated otherwise
LETS TRY TO RESUME
Fluxus as a global network, linking artists from the US,
Asia, West and Central Eastern
Europe, will be the focus of this meeting of Fluxus protagonists
and Fluxus specialists. Especially presentations
and performances by artists that were active in co-operations
across the Iron Curtain as well as lectures by
international art historians will be in the centre of this encounter.
The question of Fluxus as an inspiration
for young artists today is also at stake.
The conference is part of the exhibition FLUXUS EAST by Künstlerhaus
Bethanien as well as the programme
NEW YORK by the House of WORLD CULTURES.
WHAT I AGREE ON
Flux is not dead, it just smells funny...
Fluxus Strategies in Contemporary Art?
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE
Galeria Akumulatory 2
Polnisches Institut | Burgstraße 27 | 10178 Berlin
more than 1100 works (music, film, poetry, prose, pain-
ting, sculpture, drawing, photography, etc.) and documents
by approximately 70 Hungarian artists. These
artworks - considered by the state as illegal art -
formed the local 60s. The NEAR-EAST-EUROPEAN
CRISS-CROSS is a quick cross sectional view of the
unofficial and semi official art-relations between some
socialist countries." Tamás St. Auby, Superintendent of
IPUT (the International Parallel Union Of Tele-
communications) and Agent of NETRAF (Neo-Socialist. Realist.
IPUT's Global Counter-Arthist.ory-
Falsifiers Front) for the PI2M and the CRISS-CROSS.
Tamás TÖRÖK, curator of the CRISS-CROSS.
Ausstellung | Exhibition
MY QUESTION WHY HAVE YOU DID FORGET GALLERY FOKSAL ?
YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE
THE IRON CURTAIN at ART FORUM BERLIN) -
a chamber opera based on the correspondence of
Fluxus "inventor" George Maciunas and Lithuania's
first post-Soviet Head of State, Vytautas Landsbergis.
The performance will feature Landsbergis himself
at the piano together with soloists, choir and keyboards
with cameo performances from Fluxus luminaries.
The work combines music, art, theatre, architecture, di-
aries, letters, poetry, testimonies, political writings,
manifestos, film, dance, food, drink and other objects by
SLAVE PIANOS, George Maciunas, Vytautas Landsbergis,
Jonas Mekas, Leokadija Maciunas, Claudio
Monteverdi, Henry Purcell, Jean DeMaque,
M.K.Ciurlionis and Nam June Paik.
Konzert | Concert
YOU WILLBE ABLE TO HERE A CONCERT WITH
the junior ensemble for New Music at the School of Music in Friedrichshain-
Kreuzberg, will be playing Fluxus classics,
commissioned compositions and improvisations under the direction
of Sylvia Hinz: Bill Dietz: B - A (2007)
with ensemble ZWISCHENTÖNE /
THE PROGRAMME WILL PRESENT
Ben Vautier: ORCHESTRA PIECE NO. 4 (1965) /
George Brecht: TWO DURATIONS (1961) / Dick Higgins: DANGER MUSIC
NUMBER SEVENTEEN (1962) /
Iskar Kordt: NEUES STÜCK (2007) / Eric Andersen: OPUS 13 (1961)
/ George Brecht: THREE AqUEOUS EVENTS (1961) /
Mieko Shiomi: DISAPPEARING MUSIC FOR
FACE (1964) / George Maciunas:
IN MEMORIAM TO ADRIANO OLIVETTI (1962) / Barbara Thun:
MIGRATIONEN (2007). The ensemble members
are all aged between 8 and 12.T
AND OF COURSE
The exhibition is funded by the
German Federal Cultural Foundation
Dank an | Thanks to Botschaft der Republik Litauen
in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Kgl. Dänische Botschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Internationale Partner | International partners
(WHY NOT THE CIA TOO°?
FLUXUS EAST IS SUPOSED TO JOURNEY IT WILL GO TO
Artpool Budapest |
Contemporary Art Center/Vilnius |
Bunkier Sztuki/Kraków |
| Further exhibition venues
Contemporary Art Center/Vilnius | 30. Nov 2007 - 13. Jan 2008
Bunkier Sztuki/Kraków | 7. Feb - 30. März 2008
Ludwig Múzeum/Budapest | 17. Apr - 1. Juni 2008
Künstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH
Mariannenplatz 2 | 10997 Berlin | Tel. +49 / 30 / 61 69 03-0 |
Fax +49 / 30 / 61 69 03-30 |
HERE NOW ARE MY QUESTIONS
WHAT ABOUT DUCHAMP CAGE AND DADA ?
WHAT A BOUT CULTURAL STRATEGY IN VILNIUS ?
WHY SO MANY SPONSORS ?
WHO IS PULLING THE STRINGS ?
WHY IS FLYING CARPET NOT IN THE PROGRAM ?
IS ERIC ANDERSON ALWAYS JEALOUS OF MACIUNAS
IF I COME CAN I SING BILLY BOY?
WILL FLUXUS PRICES GO UP AFTER THIS SHOW ?
IS GERMANY TRYING TO COURT EAST EUROPE?
WHY IS RUSSIA ABSENT ?
WILL DRINKS BE FREE ?
HAS FLUXUS EGO CHANGED
WHY TOT ENDRE IS NOT MENTIONED
WHO DECIDED TO CALL MACIUNAS A SELF-STYLED "CHAIRMAN ?
SHOULD WE EXPECT A FUTURE FAR EAST FLUXHS ?
DID NATO REALY RUN AFTER MACIUNAS ?
IS FLUXUS DECOMING ARCHEOLOGY
WERE ALL THE FLUXUS ARTISTS ON THE MAYFLOWER ?
IS FLUXUS SOMETHING ELSE
JUST AFTER BERLIN COMMES FLUXUS IN ATHNES AT THE BENAKI MUSEUM
FLUXUS - FLUXUS BERLIN NEWSLETTER - 2007-09-05
Fluxus is not dead
The situation is worse
Fluxus is becoming art
Fluxus energy is back
Berlin in September
Athens in October
Ben Patterson allison
always onthe track
I love Saint Auby Tamas
He sends me mails on holes in the universe
Thanks to Eric Anderson
Fluxus has now
a "Campari time"
I am backing Fluxus speaking English
Thanks to Petra
She has a beautiful laugh
Petra's "Fluxus east " show in Berlin
Is bringing together
A fantastic bunch of east Europeans
It will be a great show,
New works - new information
Containing artists who said
No to art.
"Non-invitation to a non-exhibition"
A simple question is : Gábor Toth coming ?
Fluxus is not glamour,
That is to say
ART -NOT ART
MONEY -NO MONEY
FAME -NOT FAME
Petra did not see the George Brecht show.
Ay-O in Venice said
"Fluxus soon will cost a lot of money"
In the meantime he did four performances free
In the street.
So I say
"Fluxus is still free".
With Petra we visited Serge Oldenbourg 's house
Another dead Fluxus artist.
Caterina Gualco should
Do a Serge Oldenburg show.
Since he died his wife has a garage
Full of old works,
Some a very strong
We joked and had conversation
About Fluxus secret services.
Will Fluxus change the world ?
Maciunas worked for Nato.
Filliou worked for the United Nations in Korea
A Lithuanian secret organization.
Then invade Russia.
FLUXUS LITHUANIEN STRATEGY
Turn Putin into a Fluxus artist?
separate "event" from "happening".
(Happening is too theatrical)
Event is clear
Putin must drink a glass of water
And open the window
Then because of natural ego
Become an avant-garde artist.
Become a fluxus dictator
Fluxus loves dictating
(see Maciunas - Higgins - Yoko Ono -
Ben - Larry Miller - Knizak etc etc etc etc
If I don't speak much about him
every time I start wanting writing about him
I can't remember
How you spell his name
So I give up
FLUXUS : ALISON
Bertrand Clavez sent me photos
Of Alison performance in Lyon
Incredible Alison always on the track
Always a good Lithuanian patriot
Jonas has sold his collection to Vilnius.
FLUXUS KEN FRIEDMAN
Ken Friedman is a big problem.
I think he does a great job
On putting all these Fluxus scores on the net.
That permit students all around the world to play Fluxus.
He reminds me of a spoilt brat
Crying for more marmalade on his pancake
Some say he uses other people's ideas
I think : but don't we all do that?
FLUXUS GABOR TOTH
Because the most non-art
And the least super-ego
Or maybe the most super-ego.
FLUXUS ENDRE TOT
If Fluxus contains attitude
Endre Tot is not me
FLUXUS SAINT AUBY TAMAS
I love Auby's emails
They are great
FLUXUS JEFF BERNER
Another Fluxus mystery.
He did two things:
One was to arrive in Prague by plane
To see Knizak's Aktual
And the other was to give a show in San Francisco called Aktual
It becomes more mysterious when Jeff
On stage he prefers
Singing cabaret songs than doing Fluxus.
Sometimes I wonder if he did not
Mix up Fluxus with Cabaret.
Closer to the Moulin Rouge
Than to John Cage.
FLUXUS ERIC ANDERSON
Eric Anderson good news
sent me back my check
"Le tas d'esprits" was a very god show
but we say in french cost me
"la peau du cul"
I am working on a new show called
It will contain artists
who say they don't want to do art
who say they want to get out of art
who says they are indifferent to art
Where is Fluxus today?
Many are dying.
with cow disease
But just like Bird Flu
Others catch Fluxus.
It could start spreading.
A question I asked Petra :
How come we have so few?
Fluxus contacts in Russia?
They were more open to
Rock and Roll than Fluxus.
Normally - having Malevitch in their garden -
They should have caught up with Fluxus
as a post-Malevich situation.
Nam June Paik told me one day
He was very pro-Korean.
I even heard that
He had spent a lot of money,
Buying land in Korea.
But why then did he work with Sony and not Samsung?
Yoko Ono came to New York
With notebooks of her early works from Japan.
And kind of said
Fluxus is a Japanese "Zen". Disease
Robert Filliou worked for the United Nations
in Korea as an organiser agent.
And one day he told me:
I made there one day a big mistake,
I decided to transfer water
From the left side to the right side of Korea -
But I had forgotten
That there were mountains in the middle.
FLUXUS GEORGE MACIUNAS -
Was she a ballet dancer
Or was she Saline's secretary ?
THE FLUXUS INCANTATION
"We did this a long time ago "
is turning into a collection of relics
Too many documents and archeology.
No new question marks.
With always the same photos
The same sentences.
Danger of Fluxus indigestion
Don't forget PAIK said : "Fluxus is
A state of mind"
SO DON'T FORGET
September 27 to November 4, 2007,
Wed - Sun 2-7 pm
Opening: September 26, 7 pm
FLUXUS NETWORKS IN
CENTRAL EASTERN EUROPE
Künstlerhaus Bethanien Mariannenplatz 2
WILL BE WORKS OF
Gábor Altorjay, Eric Andersen, Tamás St. Auby, Azorro, Robert
Filliou, György Galántai, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Tadeusz
Kantor, Milan Knízák, Alison Knowles, Július Koller, Jaroslaw
Kozlowski, Vytautas Landsbergis, George Maciunas, Jonas Mekas, Larry
Miller, Ben Patterson, Mieko Shiomi, Slave Pianos, Endre Tót, Gábor
Tóth, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Jirí Valoch, Ben Vautier, Branko
Vucicevic, Emmett Williams
FLUXUS - FLUXUS A ATHENES 1 - 2007-07-28
LES AVENTURES DE FLUXUS A ATHENES.
Ca commence tous les matins par un coup de téléphone
et moi qui lui dis :
"ne te fais pas de soucis, tout ira bien"
En fait je le pense
car avec Fluxus
même quand ça ne va pas
tout va bien
CHARLES A ENVOYE SON TEXTE NICOLAS AUSSI
je dois faire le mien
je ne sais pas quoi écrire
je n'aime pas me répéter
et si ma participation était de tout dire ?
de fluxus a athenes
des frais de voyage
La liste des pièces
ce n'est pas un mince boulot
POUR COMMENCER : QU'ALLONS NOUS METTRE AUX MURS ?
le Benaki s'inquiète
qu'est-ce qu'on va mettre dans le camion ?
J'ai beau leur dire : même si on ne met RIEN
et on expose un camion vide
ils restent inquiets
soyons honnêtes : le budget est petit, minuscule
Ricardo de Florence nous fera peut-être le transport
avec un 18 mètres cubes
pour 9.000 euros Nice Gènes Milan Athènes
aller et retour
ce n'est vraiment pas cher
POURQUOI FLUXUS A ATHENES ?
Parce qu'Antigone, la femme de Charles l'a proposé
et qu'on a trouvé cela une bonne idée
c'est vrai que
Je serais toujours partant
même pour Fluxus au Pôle Nord
dans un igloo d'un village Inuit
(surtout avec cette chaleur)
LE TITRE DE l'EXPO ?
C'est "Fluxus c'est gratuit "
Charles Dreyfus a trouvé le titre
et pourtant il a toujours besoin d'argent
On aurait pu aussi l'appeler
Fluxus n'a peur de rien
ou encore "Fluxus prend la vie comme elle vient"
CELA SE PASSERA QUAND ?
Ca se passera à partir du 8 Octobre à Athènes
il fera moins chaud
et ils seront sortis des élections
MAIS POURQUOI FLUXUS ATHENES ?
Apporter Fluxus aux Grecs un peu comme les missionnaires
en Amérique du Sud et en Afrique apportaient les saintes huiles ?
C'est pas notre trip
je préfère FLUXUS A ATHENES :
pour récupérer leur Ouzo
Piquer, leur Fluxus aux Grecs ?
Fluxus à Athènes date de 10000 ans
c'est Diogène dans un tonneau
c'est Diogène cherchant la vérité
le jour avec sa lampe de poche.
c'est Archimède prenant un bain
et criant Euréka !
c'est mon oncle Hugh se noyant
en voulant traverser la baie d'athenes à la nage
FLUXUS C'EST LA VIE
alors traverser une rue
à Berlin, à New York, à Nice n'est pas la même chose que traverser
une rue à Athènes
Je ne me vois pas en train de traverser la rue -----
à Athènes sous un drap noir
A propos il ne faut pas que j'oublie d'apporter le film
LES MANIFESTATIONS DE FLUXUS
à Fluxus Pragues Serge fut mis en prison
à Fluxus Roskilde où la direction avait dit :
"on vous offre les boissons"
le Fluxus drinking team avait failli vider la cave complète de l'hôtel
chaque fois Fluxus mue et change de peau
restant toujours quand même le serpent
capable de se manger par la queue
c'est ce qui différencie une expo Fluxus
d'une expo AFFA clé en main
CELA SE PASSERA OU ?
dans ses nouveaux espaces du BENAKI
le reste qui sait ?
dans la rue
au Centre Culturel Français
à la salle de concert de l'institut
QUI SERA DANS L'EXPO ?
Nam June Paik
et trente autres
QUELLES SERONT LES PIECES DE TOUS CES INDIVIDUS ?
date de création etc
cela dépend hélas de la taille du camion, du budget,
mais d'ores et déjà je peux dire
personnellement je préfère l'attitude à l'oeuvre
alors je n'ai pas peur
il faut que l'esprit passe
EST CE QUE L'ORGANISATION ATHENIENNE SERA PROFESSIONNELLE ?
on ne sait jamais - mais je doute
mais Fluxus ne l'est pas non plus
alors on est quitte
QUELQUES IDEES APRES BOIRE
Mea culpa c'est ce que je préfère
avoir des idées, des projets
pourquoi pas organiser un voyage en taxi brousse ?
ou louer un bus le voyage faisant partie de l'expo
pourquoi pas appeler l'expo pourquoi pas ?
pourquoi pas annoncer une partouze Fluxus au Benaki et distribuer du viagra ?
pourquoi pas organiser un debat pour ou contre Fluxus
pourquoi pas une pagaille : Fluxus sans pagaille c'est pas Fluxus
pourquoi pas annoncer fluxus se jette a l'eau et toute l'équipe Fluxus se jetant à l'eau en Grèce
pourquoi pas demander à Yoko Ono de payer pour les roues de secours en cas de panne du taxi
pourquoi pas filmer l'escalade de l'Olympe par Ben Patterson
pourquoi pas une réunion secrète à Athènes sur l'Agora où il sera pris des décisions importantes sur l'avenir de Fluxus les décisions moins importantes seront prise à Delphes
pourquoi pas pressentir Ken Friedman pour remplacer les mardi et jeudi Eric Andersen comme chef d'orchestre
IDEE : POUR LE VERNISSAGE
Y AURA T'IL UN CONCERT FLUXUS ?
OUI et on ne sait jamais vous assisterez peut-être à un concert unique
OUI Athéniens ancrés dans vos habitudes de théâtre théâtral, passant de boursouflure théâtrale en boursouflure théâtrale
John Cage ayant dit : il se passe toujours quelque chose
et Eric Satie ayant dit : l'art est le culte de l'erreur
la réussite du concert est garantie.
L'ENTREE SERA-T-ELLE PAYANTE ?
NON Caroline a voulu que l'entrée soit gratuite,
car Fluxus c'est gratuit
moi j'aurais fait payer 50.000 euros l'entrée.
On aurait joué ainsi devant une salle vide
ou avec Onassis
DE QUOI SERA FAIT CE CONCERT ?
Il y aura un piano, même deux peut être
Il y aura des musiciens qui ne connaissent pas leur solfège
il y aura un répertoire de plus de 350 pièces mais en on jouera que 20
le public pourra rejoindre le côté beige clair de la force
celui de la goutte d'eau qui tombe dans le verre,
du rideau qui ne se lève pas,
des lumières qui s'éteignent,
de la partition qu'on déchire
QUE JOUERA T'ON AU CONCERT
on peut imaginer faire une suite de petites pièces Fluxus
ne durant pas plus d'une minute chacune
Sourire de Shiomi
Micro de Kosugi
Pomme de Ben Vautier
Silence de Cage
Changement de vêtements de Maciunas
SI LA SITUATION DEVIENT CHAOTIQUE
Fluxus acquiert la force
Fluxus toujours vivant,
Un état d'esprit vieux comme LA GRÈCE,
frais comme la dernière pluie.
du n'importe quoi,
du n'importe comment,
du n'importe où
IL Y AURA T'IL UN CATALOGUE ?
il n'y aura pas de catalogue mais un genre de fascicule de 48 pages
que je dois en principe essayer de faire imprimer à Nice
Si Orssonas mon imprimeur,
qui m'a trouvé une secrétaire,
est ouvert c'est possible
Ceci dit attention
seul problème avec le catalogue
si je m'en occupe les autres vont me dire :
Ben tu tires la couverture à toi
Fluxus change mais l'ego ne change jamais
comment faire ?
j'aurais donc préféré qu'ils fassent le catalogue eux mêmes
QUE CONTIENDRA CE CATALOGUE FASCICULE
un texte de Nicolas Feuillie
un texte de Charles Dreyfus
un texte de Caroline
et ce texte-ci
et de textes manifestes classiques de fluxus
Y AURA T'IL UNE AFFICHE CARTON INVITATION ?
je le suppose
mais on ne sait jamais
IMPORTANT : AU CAS OU LE BENAKI SE DEMANDE
MAIS QU'EST CE QUE FLUXUS ? VOILA POUR LES RASSURER
Fluxus est le mouvement artistique le plus important du 20 et 21ème siècle
Fluxus essaie de dire merde à l'art et n'arrive pas
Fluxus n'est pas un petit spectacle de quartier, ni de ville, ni national, ni international ni une suite de performances égotique mais du vrai stror
Fluxus c'est boire un verre d'eau
Fluxus c'est fermer les portes du théâtre et ne pas pouvoir assister au spectacle
Fluxus c'est de la prétention de tout changer en ne montrant rien dans tout )
Fluxus c'est la recherche de la vérité dans le mensonge de la vérité
Fluxus en musique vient après Debussy, Varèse, Spike Jones et John Cage
Fluxus en théâtre vient après Molière, Shakespeare, Wilson
Fluxus c'est quelqu'un qui aurait ouvert la fenêtre sur un tout possible
Fluxus est un état d'esprit apparu après que John Cage ait fait ses quatre minutes de silence et Duchamp exposé une pissotière dans une galerie.
On ne le dirait pas mais Fluxus a plus de 42 ans
Ca a commencé en 1962 à Wiesbaden
Personnellement j'attends de voir Fluxus dans 1000 ans
FLUXUS EN 2007
Fluxus continue mais je n'en parle pas autant
Ce n'est pas que ça ne m'y intéresse pas
Je crois toujours que Fluxus est important,
mais comme en art il y a trop de « moi je »
Ben prétend comprendre fluxus
Moi je …
Bertrand a organisé un truc à Lyon
avec Alison Knowles et averti personne
Moi je ..
Eric Andersen a envoyé à Ben Est Fluxus
que Ben pour l'instant n'a même pas lu
Moi je ..
Nicolas Feuillie organise Fluxus à Athènes
LETTRE A CAROLINE
on pourra d'ici un mois,
faire une liste des pièces qui peuvent partir de Nice
Selon le budget on pourrait emprunter des pièces importantes
quel est le budget ?
IL y a un groupe underground secret Fluxus à Athènes
qui nous attend
Un jour mon cousin Edouard a ramené un chiot qu'il avait trouvé une nuit qu'il marchait dans l'île de Poros il l'a nomme Yassou fluxus
UNE AUTRE ANECDOTE
Je me souviens d'une performance à Paris
PAIK m'avait dit « quand je te fais signe,
tu éteins la lumière et au deuxième signe tu ouvres la vanne d'eau ".
paniqué par la responsabilité
j'ai interverti les actions
Paik m'a dit : verry good
LES ARTISTES QUI VIENNENT DE PARTOUT DANS LE MONDE SONT ILS HEBERGES ?
hôtel bon marché ?
pour moi qui déteste marcher ou prendre le bus
trouvez moi une petite chambre d'hôtel bon marché
si possible près du Musée
QUESTION IMPORTANTE POUR CAROLINE
L'aéroport de Athènes sera-t-il capable
d'endiguer et de gérer les 500 avions privés des collectionneurs
Russes, Américains et Kazaks
qui arriveront le 8 octobre
pour l'ouverture de l'expo Fluxus au Benaki ?
PREVOIT-ON UN OU DEUX REPAS PAR JOUR
je ne le sais pas
LES VOYAGES - QUI PREND EN CHARGE LES VOYAGES ?
en avion - à pied - en stop - en train -
à dos de curator
est-on remboursé ?
ou les réservations sont faites par l'Institut d'avance
comment se passe le remboursement ?
L'ACCROCHAGE QUI EN SERA RESPONSABLE ?
Faut-il que j'apporte mon marteau et mes clous ?
je ne le sais pas
combien de jour avons-nous pour accrocher?
QUE FAIT NICOLAS FEUILLIE DANS CETTE GALERE GRECQUE
est-il rémunéré ? combien ?
et Charles qui se fait du soucis ?
QUELLE EST LA SUPERFICIE DE L'ESPACE POUR L'EXPO ?
j'ai reçu le plan
et j'ai vu des photos de l'espace
je vais les mettre sur mon site à : expos prévues Athènes BENAKI
je dirai autour de 250 M
SOYONS CLAIRS LE BENAKI AIMERAIT SAVOIR CE QU'IL Y AURA COMME OEUVRES
SUR LES MURS ET AU SOL DU BENAKI
je ne le sais pas encore
un grand mur de la documentation Fluxus (essentiel)
et (voir liste A )
QUE PROPOSE BEN D'EXPOSER (MOI )
je propose de peindre un texte sur un mur
(cela coûte pas cher mais il faut repeindre le mur après l'expo)
je propose de prêter les citations (voir liste jointe)
oui mais il faut aussi
trouver quelqu'un qui fasse les traductions en grec
si vous le voulez je pourrais remplir le camion de Ben
QUE VA PRETER GINO DI MAGGIO ?
je ne le sais pas
il faut que je lui telephone
gino di maggio m'a dit :
ben pourquoi se faire tant de soucis a transporter des pieces
on arrive sur place et on crée de nouvelles pièces
alors ma question est
pour les pièces à fabriquer sur place
peut-on aller dans un centre de charité
acheter une vielle baignoire pour une performance Fluxus
une table de ping pong pour Maciunas
si c'est oui
je demande d'ores et déjà à Caroline de me trouver une baignoire, une table de ping pong deux pianos
PARLONS DU TRANSPORT ET DE L'ASSURANCE DES PIECES
les pièces parties de Nice Gênes ou Milan
devront être assurées clou à clou.
la liste se prépare
PARLONS UN PEU DU CONCERT
date du concert
lieu du concert
exécutants pour le concert
peut-on par exemple compter sur l'aide de 5 jeunes
du conservatoire de musique
pour nous aider à exécuter et créer des nouvelles pièces ?
PARLONS DE CE QUI EST IMPORTANT LE BUDGET
quel est le budget total
comment se divise t'il ?
si le budget le permet pourra-t-on faire venir plus d'artistes ?
qui c'est qui participe au budget ?
QUI EST INVITE ?
je ne le sais pas
au départ Charles Dreyfus et Nicolas Feuillie
ensuite Ben Patterson et Ben (moi )
pourquoi pas les autres ?
parce qu'on n'a pas assez d'argent
donc si les autres artistes veulent venir ils sont les bienvenus
etc ils doivent se payer leur propre voyage
(je veux bien donner ma place à un autre )
AU CAS OU LE BENAKI S'ANGOISSE
quand on invite un mouvement radical comme Fluxus
il faut être préparé à ce que cela ne soit
pas une expo clef en main
Il faut maintenant préciser les choses
Si j'ai bien compris le problème est le budget.
C'est vrai que 15.000 euros c'est très
peu pour une exposition de Musée
pour transport des pièces et des artistes
A Paris nous avons pour le Tas d'Esprits dépensé plus de 20.000 euros
et les galeries avaient pourtant beaucoup investi.
Mais ce n'est pas la même chose
Je ne crois pas qu'il soit nécessaire
d'avoir un gros budget pour réaliser une bonne expo.
il faut surtout avoir un contenu révolutionnaire.
Ben Patterson peut venir le 9 octobre
Ben Vautier est un salaud on ne peut jamais compter sur lui
Charles Dreyfus et Antigone
QUESTION FINALE QUE JE ME POSE
Vont-ils croire à Athènes que ceci est mon texte pour le catalogue
dans lequel je parle de tout et de rien ?
vont-ils dire un jour
à leurs enfants : j'y étais
mais je n'ai rien compris
BEN LIRA T'IL CE TEXTE POUR LE 100EME ANNIVERSAIRE DE L'INSTITUT
vous êtes manipulés
vous êtes de plus en plus piégés,
votre art est en voie de devenir une sophistication,
une excroissance de la société de consommation
On crée de toutes pièces
L'ART DU BESOIN ET LE BESOIN DE L'ART.
Vous avez quitté l'art du questionnement,
l'art de la remise en question
Le discours sur la culture à l'école, dans la rue,
dans les instituts est,
pour le pouvoir en place,
un espace de manipulation, de propagande
au profit de la fabrication d'images sacralisées de consommation
dont le pouvoir se nourrit pour poursuivre
le mensonge de la supériorité du culturel sur le quotidien
ARTISTES TANT QUE VOUS N'AUREZ PAS FAIT LE POINT
SUR POUR QUI POURQUOI L'ART
ARRETEZ DE FAIRE DE L'ART.
FLUXUS - UN ARICLE DE JILL JONHSTON 2007SUR GEORGE BRECHT - 2007-04-08
The whole universe interests me—George Brecht
I don’t believe in art, I believe in artists
Not one sound fears the silence that extinguishes it
Call me a Fluxus artist. On four different occasions I have partnered with one. And one has been George Brecht, the great Fluxmaster, now 79, subject of a recent comprehensive retrospective at Museum Ludwig in Cologne. Partnering has been a salient feature of Fluxus since its origins in the early 1960s. In both partnering and grouping, Fluxus artists have subsumed their individuality, distinguishing themselves from the modernist tradition supporting the lone innovative genius. Lineages of skilled craftsmen in established mediums were disdained by Fluxmen and the scarce women in their ranks. Hallowed mediums were themselves under elimination, gone in the vortex called Intermedia.
But George Brecht was a genius! In his creation known as the Event-Score, he invented a whole new genre. At the heart of the Fluxconcert?that most delectable of group Fluxus enterprises worldwide (chiefly America, Europe and Japan)?was the Brechtian Event, a minimal action derived from the reading of a “score” consisting often of just a single word. Solo for Violin Viola Cello or Contrabass, a classic Brecht score ever popular with Fluxus artists, carries the one-word notation, “polishing.”
Judging from photos in Fluxus compendiums, and from the Fluxconcert of Brecht scores that preceded the September ’05 opening of his retrospective in Cologne, the preferred enactment of this score in any performance setting has been sitting on a chair or stool and polishing a violin.(1) Between 1960 and 1963, Brecht’s peak inspirational years, he wrote around 150 scores. Titles in black type appeared on small white stock cards, with bullet points underneath signaling the notation. It seems doubtful that Brecht thought he was doing anything new himself, or if he did, that he was the author of it. The “death of the author” was epitomized in his Event-Score. He often said the score didn’t exist without the attention of a witness, a viewer who might interpret and perform it, or simply take mental note of it, perhaps imagining some relevant (or irrelevant) action. Simply to read a score is to perform it. Obviously we could all be a part of this; we were all potential partners.
A number of Brecht’s Event-Scores first appeared in a fellow-artist’s mailbox. Composer La Monte Young was for Brecht a favorite mark, with early Brecht pieces, like Solo for Wind Instrument (“putting it down”), or String Quartet (“shaking hands”), referencing music or musical instruments. Mail Art, a chief alternative means of getting the word out and of creating an international network, was rampant between Fluxus artists in the early ’60s. My own partnering with Brecht actually started in 1961–63 when first we corresponded, but he was addressing me at that time as a critic, explaining his points of view—most strikingly as I can see now, his position on John Cage.
Cage, the godhead at that time of new ideas in art, became Brecht’s teacher and mentor beginning in 1958 when Brecht enrolled in his famous course in experimental composition at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. Brecht would soon begin to outdistance Cage. After Cage, and Cage’s hero Marcel Duchamp, came Brecht. Here was a lineage indeed, with its source in Duchamp’s renunciation of painting and launch of the Readymade as far back as 1912; its continuation in Cage’s own apostasy in music and wayward introduction of chance methodology together with his “musical” version of the Readymade in “found” sound, conceived as either noise or silence; and its logical conclusion in Brecht’s disappearing act through the Event-Score.
With the Event-Score, any author-agency, such as Cage’s structural notations for “indeterminate” outcomes, was virtually abandoned. Cage was still making music. Brecht posed a world without it—or one permeated by it. “No matter what you do,” he said, “you’re always hearing something.” One of his cards bears the ironic title Virtuoso Listener, with the score “can hear music at any time.” Life itself is music. You don’t need “music” to experience it. “After the stream is crossed,” Brecht wrote in one of his letters to me, “the raft must be abandoned.” By “raft” he meant any organizational system, such as Cage’s chance methods, widely adopted by composers, poets and others whom he influenced, to keep generating music or art—albeit of a radically alternative kind. Brecht’s interest was in “demonstrating the urgency of crossing the stream (mindlessly, and with no purpose).”
Event-Scores became the rage with Fluxus, providing countless tiny scenarios for performances that could be strung together in Fluxconcerts, with Flux artists acting in pieces by each other. Countless more were never performed, though many have been published. Early scores by Brecht, conceived in Cage’s class, are as instructional in their way as Cage’s own notations. His 1960 Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event), dedicated to Cage, has “any number” of performers, each manning a motor vehicle, and provided with a set of instruction cards listing 22 actions to be performed consecutively—all the things you can imagine doing in a car, like turning headlights off and on, or opening and closing doors and trunks. For the Museum Ludwig retrospective, the score was performed on Cologne’s Dom Plaza in front of the cathedral on Sept. 17, 2005.
During 1961 Brecht moved from the directive to the elective and discretionary. Notations under titles would at first seem related, as with “at least one egg,” under Egg. Then quite unrelated, such as “turning,” under Symphony No. 2. All notations, related or not to their titles, were reduced to nouns, or purely suggestive descriptions of actions that left out any verb, as in “from a suitcase,” the score for Suitcase. In another early 1960s collection of Event-Scores, original and often poetic, by Yoko Ono, the notations under all her titles begin with command verbs like “Observe” or “Count” or “Write” or “Throw.(2) An Ono title, Painting to be Watered (1961) has a typical imperative: “Water every day.” Pronouns here are understood. It’s all in the grammar. Scores by Alison Knowles (often produced in conjunction with her prolifically active husband, Dick Higgins) are generally also prescriptive or advisory.(3) Street Piece (1963) says, “Make something in the street and give it away.” Shuffle of 1961, goes: “The performer or performers shuffle into the performance area and away from it, above, behind, around, or through the audience. They perform as a group or solo: but quietly.”(4) In 1965, Ben Vautier, the French Fluxman, wrote “Fifty-Eight Propositions” that read like Event-Scores—sans titles, however.(5) Practically every proposition includes the words, “this page.” Almost all begin with command verbs. One that doesn’t reads, “this page is a work of art.” In others, Vautier playfully undercut the peremptory moxie of his instructions: “swallow this page,” or “set fire to this page” or “look everywhere else.”
The leap that Brecht made under Cage, passing him by, was a career-changing one. It took him into a conceptual never-never-land, where he disavowed his authorship and the relevance of any particular response. In an anarchic group of artists like Fluxus, this position made him very attractive indeed. And while “everybody could do it,” “it” was not something everybody could understand by any means—always an appealing situation to hothouse artists operating far from the mainstream. In his haiku-like scores, Brecht found a form for driving home such isolated, smart Dada sayings as Tristan Tzara’s “Art is not the most precious manifestation of life. Art has not the celestial and universal value that people like to attribute to it. Life is far more interesting.”(6) Still, it’s impossible to say that Brecht, the philosopher of Fluxus, didn’t invent an “art form” to illustrate the preeminence of life. The paradox is everything.
And what kind of life did George Brecht favor? One thing he liked was chairs. Writing in these pages three decades ago, Jan van der Marck observed, “Brecht takes the world sitting down. The chair, just barely pried loose from domesticity and always ready to be reused, is a prominent object of his affection.” On view at the exhibition in Cologne were a large number of Brechtian chairs, found objects a lot more common than Duchamp’s urinal or stool-mounted bicycle wheel. Brecht’s chairs may stand alone or have objects on or near them. The first and perhaps most interesting chair was titled Chair with a History (1966). Brecht told an interviewer: “In Rome I bought a very simple wooden chair and a very beautiful book bound in red leather. I began to note down in the book where I’d bought the chair, how much I’d paid for it and where I’d found the pen I was writing with and the kind of ink I was using and so forth. Then I exhibited the chair and the book and everyone was invited to add to the book whatever was happening while he was sitting on the chair.”(8)
Alas, the chair and book are now history. At Museum Ludwig, you were not, naturally, allowed to sit on the chair much less write in the book. Brecht’s ideal of participation, once possible in settings like the Reuben Gallery in downtown Manhattan, site of Brecht’s first solo exhibit in 1959, has gone the way to an incipient canonization.
Along with the chairs at Museum Ludwig were a number of Brecht’s boxes and cabinets, also originally made for interaction, with play elements and open compartments containing common objects (a.k.a. Readymades) that viewers could move around. Repository (1961) is a tall white cabinet that has 16 compartments of different sizes, two with narrow doors, and two drawers at the bottom. One section consists of nine identical square compartments in a tic-tac-toe configuration; eight of these each holds a unique ball (e.g., twine, Xms bulb, baseball . . . ), leaving one space empty—a suggestive invitation to move the objects around (if not to oust and replace them). The very year Repository was made, the Museum of Modern Art in New York not only included the cabinet in its trailblazing “Art of Assemblage” show, but bought it. As early as that, the collectivist spirit of Brecht’s offerings was denied. But to this viewer, anyway, none of Brecht’s boxes and cabinets, or Fluxkits (those briefcases of assembled objects and literature, after Duchamp’s Boite-en-Valise, so favored by Fluxus artists), ever looked approachable for some divinely populist intervention. While far from the intimate, untouchably mysterious, allusively narrative, ultra-aesthetic box creations of Joseph Cornell (a Fluxus influence at a distance), they are beautiful—clearly “art”—nonetheless. And buyable—unlike the Event-Scores, which as concepts are the purest, most generous giveaway imaginable by an artist to people at large. Here we want to put quotes around “artist,” expressing the paradox that was Fluxus at its best. And we should, I think, want to know more about how such a deviant and subversive tradition in art developed.
Why, for instance, did Duchamp renounce painting and deploy found objects in art contexts? And why did Cage abandon music and inaugurate “noise”? Why did they both react against the universally well formed artist’s ego? Did any significant failures figure in their histories? While I was writing to Brecht in 1989 in Cologne (where he had been living more and more reclusively as an American ex-pat since 1972), in a correspondence that had long since morphed from the polarized artist-and-critic pairing to something a lot friendlier, I told him about my interest in “Fluxlives.” I thought that bio-histories of Fluxus artists and performers, along with foundational dates, names and places, could shed light on how so many diverse individuals ended up together in an international community. Among the typical Fluxfestival which often appropriating an entire city for days on end, with street performances and concerts in odd places like train stations, there was the classic “Festival of Misfits” in London in 1962, the year George Maciunas gave Fluxus its name. If Fluxartists were Misfits, and surely they were, I wanted their credentials. Brecht wrote back saying he was “retired from Fluxus,” and asked, “What do you mean that Fluxlives interest you”?
Somewhere in a subsequent letter I mentioned the fathers. “The fathers of these guys especially interest me.” And in the flotsam of exchanges, I would regale George with reports of meetings I was having with his historic mentor Cage, whom I knew socially fairly well at that time. In a surprise move, with a letter George wrote Sept. 26, 1991, he turned me into a more active Flux partner. By then he knew a thing or two about my own father (never a subject I kept hidden from anyone), though I knew nothing whatever concerning his, and had never asked. Proposing a “Father-project” between us, he said, “For every item of your father-research, I’ll give you one of mine.” And he started it off: “My father gave up music-making in the mid-30s by lying down and not breathing any more on the couch at 165 W. 82nd Street [New York], where we were living at the time.” In his next letter, he repeated the news of the death: “My father breathed his last around 1936.” But added the promised new item that his father was a flutist.(9) Ah! And he included a large Xerox of an impressively striking photo of his father seated in a wicker armchair, in formal concert tux, flute held in left hand, looking up at a fellow musician, a clarinetist, standing next to him. Now I wanted to know his name, and his age at death, but George never told me, and I pulled back, being engaged in the matter as a friend, not as a writer. By the late 1990s our correspondence had dropped off. Then in March 2005, when the Museum Ludwig asked me to contribute to the Brecht retrospective catalogue, the forgotten “Father-Project” rose up like an Excalibur in my head. I would write a kind of “realization” of it, something Event-Scores are said to achieve when anyone decides to perform them, or think about them or do anything at all about them.
It was evident right away that Brecht’s father, and John Cage—his “liberator” as he would call him—were linked in the field of music, and that both men were performers. As a professional flutist, Brecht’s father had played in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,
the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Stokowski, the NBC Radio Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, at Radio City Music Hall, and John Phillip Sousa Band. He was born George Ellis Macdiarmid in 1894, in Little Rock, Ark., and died just as Brecht told me, in 1936. So he was 42, and son George, also George Ellis Macdiarmid and an only child, was just ten at the time. In the world of Fluxus it’s been common knowledge that Brecht had long ago changed his name, though nobody seemed to know from what exactly, or when or why, and he has said Bertolt was not his reference, that he picked the name more or less out of a hat. For the Ludwig catalogue, he provided more information. He left Macdiarmid behind and became Brecht in his late teens, around 1945, while serving in the army and stationed in Germany.(10) It’s a serious breach to make such a change. Succession in the paternal name is a mark of pride and self-respect, even necessity, in any patriarchal culture. By changing his name, he broke not just with his father but a grandfather and a great-grandfather who were also George Macdiarmids.(11) Brecht clearly intended to re-invent himself somehow. During his 20s, as he prepared himself for a career in chemistry, he was also involved wit art. He became a successful research chemist, and was awarded various patents; in art, he developed his painting by chance methods, using statistics and random numbers. He also married and had a son Eric, born 1953. By the mid-’50s he was well aware of the work of both John Cage and Marcel Duchamp.
In 1993, while I was visiting Brecht in Cologne, he added to his father lore for me, providing two details that would help me form a view of this artist’s work through the agency or legacy of his progenitor. He said his father had a “nervous breakdown” when he had to play the lengthy flute passage that opens Ravel’s Bolero. And that he “died from alcohol…one morning he just didn’t wake up.” Of the 144 Event-Scores listed in the Ludwig catalogue, made by Brecht between 1959 and 1963, at least 27 have obvious musical citations, and of these there is one, titled Flute Solo (1962), with a notation reading “disassembling assembling,” that Brecht, in an unusual revelation of a source, has linked directly to his father. In the 1970s, Brecht told the British composer and musicologist Michael Nyman about an incident when his father was playing for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra:
“A soprano was bugging everybody with temper tantrums during rehearsal. At a certain point the orchestra crashed onto a major seventh and there was silence for the soprano and flute cadenza. Nothing happened. The soprano looked down into the orchestra pit and saw that my father had completely taken apart his flute, down to the last screw. I used this idea in my 1962 Flute Solo.”(12)
Brecht has himself done a precise “realization” of Flute Solo, taking a flute apart “down to the last screw” and putting it back together again. Nyman smartly pointed out to Brecht in his interview that his “sound-producing instruments [in the Event-Scores] have been made mute (the violin, in Solo for Violin Viola Cello or Contrabass, is polished, not played), and non-sounding instruments, or non-instruments, for instance a comb (Comb Music, 1962) are made sounding.” Flute Solo is one of many in the former category.
One Fluxus favorite of Brecht’s that foils or circumvents an instrument’s traditional use has been Piano Piece (1962), with the notation, “a vase of flowers/on(to) a piano.” In a review I wrote in 1964 titled “Fluxus Fuxus” of a flawlessly entertaining Fluxconcert at Carnegie Recital Hall, I described Brecht’s performance of it, “… placing a vase of flowers…on the grand piano.”(13) In Cologne Sept. 16, 2005, in an unfortunately lengthy and disorganized pre-opening concert of Brecht scores, it was performed the same way.(14)
Brecht doesn’t distinguished between the event-as-performance and the event-as-object. And he conflates what you see and what you hear. Writer Henry Martin asked him, “You mean to say that all the accidental environmental sounds that surround the piece become a part of the realization of the score?”
GB: Yes, that’s right.
HM: In that case even the chairs are musical?
GB: Yes, in fact, there is perhaps nothing that is not musical. Perhaps there’s no moment in life that’s not musical. . . . All instruments, musical or not, become instruments.(15)
And he meant the chairs, suitcases, dressers, clothes trees, tables, lamps, hooks and key holes, motor vehicles, eggs, clocks, mirrors, sinks, ladders and many other “things” to be found in his titles, or to be found standing alone, on display, or dwelling multiply in his boxes, cabinets, and Fluxkits.
I can see the whole kit and caboodle—furniture and fixtures and music and musical instruments and word-scores and games and puzzles—as belonging in some imaginary home that Brecht built during his career, inviting us to visit him in it, sit in a chair or at a table, hang a coat on a clothes tree, turn on a lamp, turn it off, move things around, listen to the atmosphere, play solitaire with cards of his own design, eat an egg, and so on. There are no beds in Brecht’s galaxy of objects, so I suppose staying overnight was never an option.
If music is Brecht’s touchstone, its historical particularities are references made only for subversion. In Cage’s famed invention, the Prepared Piano, the traditional use of piano keys to make music was transferred to the engine or strings of the piano to perform “noise.” Music, however perverted, was still being made. Brecht, purely by concept, through word-forms, separates the sounds instruments emit from their sources, or converts all the world’s objects into instruments worthy of making sounds. In Flute Solo, Brecht separates his father from his flute (as we understand the use of flutes), which had apparently caused him so much trouble, even to the extent of killing him. The way Brecht has told it, when his father toured with the Sousa Band, he was “introduced to strong drink, which later did him in.”(16) With Flute Solo, he transformed the instrument his father dismantled in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra pit into an object of interest in itself, lifting a funny insurrectionary story out of its original setting, isolating it in a benign, unassailable context—a Fluxus performance.
In a touching work titled The Chemistry of Music, a slide-lecture Brecht first delivered in London in 1969, he partnered his dead father, as can be deduced in drawings uniting musical properties like clefs and notes and instrument parts with chemical tubes and processes, the latter the paraphernalia of Brecht’s career as a research chemist (which he had abandoned upon leaving the U.S. in 1965). As I wrote at the time, “To an accompaniment of drum music by Walter De Maria, Brecht projected slides taken from drawings on a 6-by-6-foot fiberboard. . . . He stood by the board, miming a lecture, pointing out aspects of the slides and occasionally setting off small fireworks.” (17)
In the drawings, chemical processes are producing notes, and music is creating chemistry. One drawing shows a man playing a flute, a bent straw attached to flute’s end, a drop of liquid falling from the straw into a test tube. He’s “playing” Brecht’s kind of music. Instead of sounds meant for ears, the flute is issuing fluid falling into a deaf lab receptacle. In a more complex drawing, a process ends up—through a series of arrows pointing the way from a slot machine, a collection of drums and a mediating test tube—in a bunch of sharps and one clef held in a man’s open hand. Two very different careers, father’s and son’s, functionally compromised, meet in a fantasy of the absurd.
In Brecht’s postmortem rescues of his father, if you want to call it that, he made good on his father’s failure, not as a musician—Brecht has said, “I guess he got pretty good…as a joke he used to play Chopin’s Minute Waltz in a minute”—but as a father.(18) George Ellis Macdiarmid had a career that took him on the road a lot, making him more absent than traditionally absent fathers. He died when his son and only child was much too young, in an ending attributed to drink. The whole world (which is music, as Brecht has repeatedly said) is a world encompassed metonymically by his father. A world-map drawing in The Chemistry of Music project, with musical signs posted on all the continents of the globe, very graphically puts his father everywhere. Such brilliant translations or conversions are the stuff of the “failures” that preceded Brecht in art, leading to the two postmodernist revolutions—in music and painting—?awaiting him in the late 1950s.
Brecht was lucky to find the cheerful and inspiring John Cage, whose own teacher back in the 1930s, Arnold Schoenberg, had been witheringly discouraging, showing a supreme lack of interest in Cage’s work. “It became clear to both of us,” Cage has said, “that I had no feeling for harmony,” Without this feeling, Schoenberg warned Cage, he would always be thwarted in his efforts to write music, coming to a wall through which he couldn’t pass. Cage’s famous response was, “In that case I will devote my life to beating my head against that wall.”(19) Much later, when Cage was well known, Schoenberg would say of him, “Of course he’s not a composer, but an inventor—of genius.”(20) Curiously, Cage’s father and paternal grandfather had both been inventors, and while he struck out on his own, first in painting, then music, he ended up in their footsteps anyway.
It was Cage, of course, who championed the once-failed French painter Marcel Duchamp in America after WWII, becoming the main channel of Duchamp’s influence in the postmodernist realm of life-affirming “non-art,” transmitted to a whole new generation. Said Duchamp of his crucible experience in March 1912 when he submitted his Nude Descending a Staircase to the Salon des Indpendants in Paris, then was forced to withdraw the painting, “It was really a turning point in my life, I can assure you.”(21) The alignment of Duchamp’s “failure” with the failure of modernism became one of the absorbing allegorical conflations of 20th-century art.
Duchamp’s interests and influence are everywhere in Brecht’s work. In the Ludwig exhibition was a little library of Brecht-owned books by the French mystery writer San-Antonio, a pen name for Frdric Dard, to whom Duchamp apparently paid homage with his 1951 phallic readymade, punningly titled Objet Dard. From a paragraph in a 2000 obituary of Dard in the International Herald Tribune, it’s easy to see what made him attractive to both Brecht and Duchamp. “By the time Mr. Dard died, he was recognized as a genius with words, a man who created so many extraordinary—and untranslatable—word games and neologisms, that he invented a language, an argot, all his own.” The obituary goes on to say that Dard was a writer who “suffered from the condescending attitudes of traditional critics.”(22) In the mid-1970s Brecht, with a surprising piece of fiction of his own, invented a misunderstood genius reflecting Dard and Duchamp, as well as Brecht himself. “The Brunch Museum” (1976), with 20 exhibits of objects accompanied by comical descriptive texts, is about a man called “W.E. Brunch” who died in 1974 at the age of 85. As a coincidence, or not, Duchamp, who died in 1968 at age 81, would have been close to 85 in 1974.
Unmistakably autobiographical (Brunch/Brecht, to begin with), it tells us something about how Brecht must have felt in the mid-1970s when he had retreated to Cologne, left Fluxus art circuits behind, and began enjoying a withdrawal, or hermitage that his Event-Scores had long predicted. One, titled Two Signs (1963), with notations “Silence” and “No Vacancy,” sounds fairly portentous. He seemed destined to personify his disappearing act in the Event-Scores. But it could not have been easy. The death of (the fictional) W.E. Brunch, says Brecht in an introductory text, “came as a terrible blow to all those who knew him.” The purpose of The Brunch Museum exhibits was to inspire a “more widespread appreciation of the great man,” and for “the world to know about the life and work of this visionary genius, most of whose work is still relatively unknown.”
The general view of Brecht as an unambitious recluse, a status often attributed to Duchamp as well, seems belied in The Brunch Museum project. But Brecht, though a modest, unassuming man, no doubt had had normal hopes for recognition, however complicated by Zen aspirations for acquiescence. We might guess that he was able gradually to embrace such resignation through three successive decades of accelerated creative inactivity. If that’s the case, in an uncanny fulfillment of the Brunch Museum work, Brecht has been ironically granted a belated appreciation and discovery by the Museum Ludwig. As its director Kasper Knig says, “It’s time George Brecht was given the recognition he deserves as the major modern artist he undoubtedly is.”(23)
1. GEORGE BRECHT Events ? A Heterospective. Curators Julia Robinson and Alfred M. Fischer. Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Knig, Kln, 2005.
2. Ono, Yoko. Grapefruit. London, Sphere Books Ltd., 1971.
3. Alison Knowles, A Great Bear Pamphlet,. New York1965
5. Fluxus Etc., catalogue for exhibition at Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum of the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, 1981, curator Jon Hendricks, p. 202.
6. Lecture on Dada by Tzara, 1922, reprinted in Robert Motherwell’s Dada Painters and Poets, 1989 (originally published in 1951), p. 92.
7. Jan van der Marck, “George Brecht: An Art of Multiple Implications,” Art in America, July-August 1974, p.51.
8. Interview with George Brecht by Irmeline Lebeer, in Henry Martin, An Introduction to George Brecht’s “Book of the Tumbler on Fire,” Milan, Multipla, 1978, p. 87.
9. Letter from George Brecht to Jill Johnston, Dec. 19, 1991.
10. George Brecht, Events, p.306.
11. U.S. censuses, Ancestry.com
12. Interview with Brecht by Michael Nyman, in Henry Martin, p. 120, footnote 19; see also George Brecht, Events, p.238.
13. Village Voice, July 2 1964; reprinted in Jill Johnston, Marmalade Me, New York, Dutton, 1971, pp.73-75.
14. Performance arranged by Larry Miller with Alison Knowles and Eric Andersen and special guest performers Geoff Hendricks, Ben Patterson and Ben Vautier.
15. Interview with Brecht by Henry Martin, in Henry Martin, p.82.
16. George Brecht, Events, p. 238.
17. Jill Johnston, “Vive George,” Village Voice, Aug. 22, 1968.
18. George Brecht, Events, p. 238.
19. David Revill, The Roaring Silence, New York, Arcade, 1992, p. 53.
20. Ibid. p. 47.
21. Calvin Tomkins, The Bride and the Bachelors, New York, Viking, 1965, p. 22.
22. An image of the obituary as printed in the International Herald Tribune, June 10-11, 2000, is reproduced in George Brecht, Events, p.211.
23. George Brecht, Events, p. 8.
FLUXUS - VIEUX TEXTE SUR LE TAS D'ESPRITS - 2007-03-21
DELEGATION AUX ARTS PLASTIQUES : MINISTERE DE LA CULTURE (AVEC LOGO) Marie-Christine Hergott firstname.lastname@example.org
"Fluxus est un état d'esprit.." Nam June Paik.
La manifestation "le tas d'esprits", initiée par l'artiste Ben Vautier, réunit près de 200 artistes dans divers lieux du quartier Saint-Germain-des-prés, à Paris. "Le tas d'esprits" propose à travers expositions, performances, films et concerts, une interrogation sur l'art et ses limites après les pensées radicales des avant-gardes artistiques dites "historiques" comme Fluxus, Dada ou le Situationnisme. "Le tas d'esprits" contient une attitude, une série de ruptures et de positionnements envers l'art et ses systèmes, rassemblant moins des œuvres que des "gestes", des intuitions intellectuelles dont l'absence de concession, voire le jusqu'au-boutisme, démontrent une vertu exemplairement avant-gardiste. Un tas d'idées et de propositions extrêmes produites par des esprits "inadaptés" réfutant "l'avant-garde comme une esthétique pour l'affirmer délibérément comme une éthique". (Bertrand Clavez)
FLUXUS - A MARSEILLE AUSSI LE VENT FLUXUS SOUFFLE - 2007-01-18
L’Embonnineuse FIN 2006
Rapport secret de mon espion sur place
Ils ne sont encore fait embobiner par Courbe.
Bonne ambiance,tout le monde a dansé le soir
les performance commed'habitude sans épine dorsale ni queue ni tete un combat d'ego
charles dreyfus s'est fait aider par Stéphane Berard
à la batterie
Julien Blaine le marseillais n'est pas venu il était à Amsterdam
il se méfie du docteur Courbe
il joue les absents pour pas tomber malade
Courbe a voulu faire du sous Pinoncelli mais sans couper son pouce
Carros bonne ambiance Altman n'était pas là il devait recevoir une médaille à Monaco remise par le Prince Albert
L'exposition : c'était une expo souvenir. Pas beaucoup d'oeuvres. Décontractée sympatique mais manquant d'oeuvres de Hains
il y avait beaucoup de photos
Le catalogue est sympa
ca ressemblait plus ào une réunion de copains qu'à une expo