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Article

(b Geneva, June 24, 1948).

Swiss draughtsman, performance artist, painter, and sculptor. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Geneva (1966–7) and at the Glamorgan Summer School, Britain (1969). Armleder is known primarily for his involvement with Fluxus during the 1960s and 1970s, which included performances, installations, and collective activities. He was a member of the Groupe Luc Bois, based in Geneva in 1963. In 1969, with Patrick Lucchini and Claude Rychner, he was a founder-member of the Groupe Ecart, Geneva, from which stemmed the Galerie Ecart (1973) and its associated performance group (1974) and publications. Armleder’s first exhibition was at the Galerie Ecart in 1973, followed in the same year by one at the Palais de l’Athénée, Geneva. The anti-establishment and anti-formalist philosophy of the Fluxus groups continued in Armleder’s mixed-media works of later years, which include the Furniture Sculpture of the 1980s. In works that couple objects (second-hand or new) with abstract paintings executed by Armleder himself, and which often refer ironically to earlier modernist abstract examples, he questioned the context in which art is placed and the notion of authenticity in art. Such concerns continued to appear in his work. Armleder’s ...

Article

Ben  

Vanina Costa

[Vautier, Benjamin]

(b Naples, Italy, July 18, 1935).

French painter and performance artist. In 1949 he settled in Nice, where in 1958 he bought a record shop, which he used to stage exhibitions. In this gallery, which he initially called Laboratoire 32, and later Galerie Ben Doute de Tout, he held his first one-man show in 1960. Self-taught, he was by this time producing paintings of large handwritten words on a plain background, often coloured black and white, as in Je suis un menteur (1959; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 24). In an equally subversive spirit he created the Vomit Pictures (1958; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 14), which consisted of black canvases on to which he vomited. In the early 1960s he became associated with Fluxus, inscribing a ping-pong ball ‘Dieu’ for his Fluxbox Containing God (1961; see 1987 exh. cat., pp. 54–5) and in 1962 taking part in the Festival of Misfits at Gallery One in London. His Fluxus editioned works were often containers filled with everyday objects or materials, such as ...

Article

Heiner Stachelhaus

revised by Ina Blom

(b Krefeld, May 12, 1921; d Düsseldorf, Jan 23, 1986).

German sculptor, performance artist, printmaker teacher, and political activist. He opposed a concept of art based on such autonomous genres as panel painting and sculpture. Instead he pursued in his performance art (‘Aktionen’) and sculpture an ‘expanded concept of art’, aimed at a total permeation of life by creative acts. By his provocative and often misunderstood statement that ‘each person is an artist’, he did not mean that everyone is a painter or a sculptor. Rather, he wanted to express the idea that any person could become creatively active. This concept culminated logically in his idea of ‘social sculpture’, an art designed to activate the creative power possessed by every individual to form his or her own life situation.

As a schoolboy Beuys was strongly interested in natural science, which remained significant for his later work. After taking his Abitur in 1940 in Kleve on the Lower Rhine, where he grew up, he first wanted to become a paediatrician. However, in ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b New York, Aug 27, 1926; d Cologne, Germany, Dec 5, 2008).

American sculptor, performance artist, and writer. A proto-conceptual artist, Brecht emerged as part of the group of avant-garde composers and artists surrounding John Cage in the late 1950s. His model of the ‘event score’, a short textual proposition meant to activate the experience between subject and object, was a pivotal contribution to the conceptual strategies of art in the 1960s. A member of Cage’s Experimental Composition courses at New York’s New School for Social Research (1956–60), he wrote chance-based, indeterminate scores, first for music, and eventually for events in all dimensions. In October 1959 his first solo exhibition, Toward Events: An Arrangement (New York, Reuben Gal.), featured constellations of ready-made objects in familiar ‘frames’, such as a regular medicine cabinet (e.g. Repository, 1961; New York, MOMA) or a suitcase, with instructions indicating how they could be perceived as ‘events’ via suggested (but open) time-based encounters. Between 1959 and ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Los Angeles, Sept 5, 1912; d New York, Aug 12, 1992).

American composer, philosopher, writer and printmaker. He was educated in California and then made a study tour of Europe (1930–31), concentrating on art, architecture and music. On his return to the USA he studied music with Richard Buhlig, Adolph Weiss, Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg; in 1934 he abandoned abstract painting for music. An interest in extending the existing range of percussion instruments led him, in 1940, to devise the ‘prepared piano’ (in which the sound is transformed by the insertion of various objects between the strings) and to pioneer electronic sound sources.

Cage’s studies of Zen Buddhism and Indian philosophy during the 1940s resulted in a decision to remove intention, memory and personal taste from music, based on the Oriental concern with process rather than result. According equal status to both structured sound and noise, he treated silence (the absence of intentional sounds) as an element in its own right. In the early 1950s he began his close collaboration with the pianist ...

Article

Jean E. Feinberg

(b Cincinnati, OH, June 6, 1935).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer and poet. He studied art at the Cincinnati Arts Academy (1951–3) and later at the Boston Museum School and Ohio University (1954–7). In 1957 he married Nancy Minto and the following year they moved to New York. Dine’s first involvement with the art world was in his Happenings of 1959–60. These historic theatrical events, for example The Smiling Workman (performed at the Judson Gallery, New York, 1959), took place in chaotic, makeshift environments built by the artist–performer. During the same period he created his first assemblages, which incorporated found materials. Simultaneously he developed the method by which he produced his best known work—paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that depict and expressively interpret common images and objects.

Clothing and domestic objects featured prominently in Dine’s paintings of the 1960s, with a range of favoured motifs including ties, shoes and bathroom items such as basins, showers and toothbrushes (e.g. ...

Article

Erró  

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

[GuÐmundsson, GuÐmundur]

(b Ólafsvík, July 19, 1932).

Icelandic painter. He studied at the Myndlista-og handíÐaskóli Íslands (Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts, Reykjavík, 1949–51) and the Kunstakademi, Oslo (1952–4), where he specialized in fresco painting and printmaking. He undertook further studies in painting and mosaic at the Accademie in Florence and Ravenna (1954–7). He settled in Paris in 1958, later dividing his time between Paris, Bangkok, the Mediterranean island of Formentera and Reykjavík. During his period of study he undertook numerous experiments with style, which coalesced in Italy as a polemic figuration in the Carcasses series (e.g. Black Bull, 1956; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.)

A cosmopolitan and eclectic artist, Erró developed his work from his study of Old Masters such as Uccello and Bosch, and his close association with the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta in 1959. Photomontages and assemblages of found objects underlay his continued interest in Surrealist techniques. In the early 1960s, prompted by repeated visits to the USA, Erró began using popular imagery. In common with other artists associated with ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Florence, 1935).

American choreographer of Italian birth. An influential choreographer in post-modern dance, Forti’s approach and formal language had an important impact on experimental art of the early 1960s, from Happenings to Minimalism. Born in Italy, her family escaped during World War II to Los Angeles. She attended Reed College before moving in 1956 with her husband, Robert Morris, to San Francisco. There she attended the famous Dance Workshop of Anna Halprin (b 1920), whose innovative approach proved critically influential to a generation of renowned dancer–choreographers. When Forti and Morris moved to New York in 1959–60 she studied with Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and, perhaps most importantly for her, Robert Ellis Dunn (1928–96). At this time, Forti also taught at a nursery school, and avidly studied the movement of children, importing it directly into her choreography.

A key member of the downtown experimental art scene, her work appeared in concerts at the Reuben Gallery (...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(b Nashville, TN, June 1, 1937).

American painter, sculptor, installation artist, draughtsman, performance artist and film maker. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1955), at the New School for Social Research in New York (1956) and under Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, MA (1957). Together with Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Robert Whitman (b 1935) and others, he was briefly an instrumental figure in the history of performance art in New York during the late 1950s with the Happenings he presented as early as 1957, most famously The Burning Building (1959), which took place in his loft at 148 Delancey Street (designated the Delancey Street Museum). With their narrative flow and elements of comedy, Grooms’s highly engaging performances were closer to the ‘painter’s theatre’ of Dine than to the events created by Kaprow or the Fluxus artists. The energy that went into these performances was soon redeployed into films, beginning with ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b New York, Oct 5, 1927; d Cologne, June 22, 1995).

American composer and collagist. Hansen was a New York-based artist and a key figure in the founding of Happenings. He served in the US Air Force between 1946 and 1948, and studied under the GI Bill at the Art Students’ League, Tulane University, and at Hans Hofmann’s Art School. In the 1950s, Hansen joined John Cage’s Experimental Composition class at the New School for Social Research in New York (1957–9) where he met fellow poets and artists crucial to the development of Concrete poetry, Happenings, and Fluxus (Jackson Mac Low (1922–2004), Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, Dick Higgins (1938–98), and Larry Poons). A classic Hansen score written in Cage’s class—and performed there, and later at the Living Theater—was his Alice Denham in 48 Seconds. Using a Cagean system where letters (e.g., of a name) could be replaced by numbers that would define limits for the piece—which sound, how loud, and for how long—Hansen replaced the letters of “Alice Denham” with numbers. Handing out toy noise-makers to the class, he placed the score (comprised of large numbers) on the classroom blackboard, to cue the sound. In ...

Article

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

[net art]

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

Art that uses the Internet not only as its tool of production and distribution but also as its source material or medium, and exploits or reflects the Internet’s inherently connective characteristics. While not a distinct art form or style, Internet art has been discussed in connection to the history of media art, predominantly through studies of the screen (see Bosma, 2013; Manovich, 2001) and the way things are framed, including still or moving images (see Video art and New media art in India). Internet art exceeds this narrow definition and its lineage can be better understood in the context of telecommunications, with a focus on information exchange and its occurrences through networked channels of transmission and their inherent politics. Because of this it is linked to Conceptual art practices, including intermedia art, Fluxus, and Correspondence art (such as the work of Knowles, Alison...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Wielopole, nr Kraków, April 6, 1915; d Kraków, Dec 8, 1990).

Polish painter, draughtsman, theatre director and stage designer. He studied painting and stage design under Karol Frycz (1877–1963) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, graduating in 1939. After the outbreak of World War II he organized in Kraków an experimental underground theatre (1942–4), exhibitions and art discussions. He painted and produced numerous drawings and stage designs for future performances. He was influenced by various artistic movements such as Constructivism, Expressionism and Futurism, as well as by the writings of Bruno Schultz (1892–1942) and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (ii), whose plays he later staged. In 1947 he went to Paris, where at the Palais de la Découverte he ‘discovered’ the infinity of nature that he examined through the microscopic images of cells and cross-sections of minerals. As the scientific approach to this was beyond his means, he began to explore the natural world by developing the concept of inner, intellectual and spiritual space through the act of artistic creation. He called it ‘the umbrellic space’. A series of abstract and metaphorical paintings and drawings followed, with the motif of an umbrella that could ‘fold’ and ‘unfold’ the space (e.g. ...

Article

Jens Peter Munk

(b Copenhagen, Sept 1, 1938).

Danish painter, sculptor and writer. He graduated in geology from the University of Copenhagen in 1964 and did geological work in Greenland between 1958 and 1972. In 1962 he entered the Eksperimenterende Kunst-skole (Experimental Art School) in Copenhagen. His first one-man exhibitions were in 1964 at the Hovedbibliotek in Copenhagen and in 1965 at the Frie Udstilling, Copenhagen. His first important one-man exhibition abroad was at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, in 1977. He later exhibited widely at public and commercial galleries throughout Europe and the USA.

A prolific artist, Kirkeby used a range of different media. He was a member of the Fluxus group and was influenced by Pop art in the 1960s, as can be seen in The Price of your Stupidity (1964; ex-J. Hunov priv. col., see 1984 exh. cat.), an overpainted prototype for a series of modifications of diverse newspaper illustrations. Later he was influenced by Tachism and Abstract Expressionism. The vigorous brushwork and chromatic beauty of his, mostly untitled, paintings (e.g. ...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b New York, NY, 1933).

American printmaker, sound artist and performance artist. She was one of the founding members of Fluxus, the international avant-garde collective formed in 1962. Transferring from Middlebury College to Pratt Institute in New York, Knowles studied painting and drawing with Adolph Gottlieb and Richard Lindner and graduated in 1956. By the late 1950s she had lost interest in painting and burnt all her early paintings in a bonfire. It was then that she befriended artists Dick Higgins (1938–98), George Brecht and composer John Cage whose meditation on everyday life and music of indeterminacy inspired her to pursue a new artistic path.

After marrying in 1960, Knowles and Higgins were invited by George Maciunas to perform in the Fluxus inaugural concert series in Europe. There Knowles started to write her “Propositions,” radical reinterpretation of Cagean text scores, which transferred the artistic agency to the audience. Among her early events, Make a Salad...

Article

Roberto Pontual

revised by Gillian Sneed

(b São Paulo, Dec 21, 1931; d São Paulo, Sept 12, 2010).

Brazilian painter and draftsman. The grandson of missionaries from the United States and Brazilians of Portuguese descent, Lee grew up in São Paulo. In the early 1950s he trained at the Museu de Arte Assis Châteaubriand (MASP), São Paulo, and later at the Parsons School of Design in New York, where he studied graphic arts. In New York he was introduced to Dada and Neo-Dada through the works of Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, which influenced his early practice. He returned to Brazil in 1955, working in an advertising agency until 1957, when he became an apprentice in the studio of the painter Karl Plattner (1919–1989). After traveling to Paris, Italy, and Austria to work and study, he returned to Brazil in 1960. In 1963, with the critic Pedro Manuel-Gismondi (1925–1999), the painter Maria Cecilia Gismondi (b 1928), the photographer Otto Stupakoff (1935–2009), and the writer Carlos Felipe Saldanha (...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Düsseldorf, April 11, 1939; d Düsseldorf, Nov 24, 1996).

German painter and dealer. He studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (19587ndash;62) and in 1963 co-staged two events, part exhibition and part happening, that betrayed the influence of both Pop art and the Fluxus movement. The first, Malerei und Grafik. Sonderausstellung, was organized with fellow graduates Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Manfred Kuttner in May of that year, in a disused shop at 31A Kaiserstrasse in Düsseldorf. The impact of popular contemporary trends from France, Britain and the USA was evident in the second happening that Lueg staged with Richter five months later, Leben mit Pop – eine Demonstration für den Kapitalischen Realismus, in a furniture department store (Möbelhaus Berges, Flingerstrasse 11, Düsseldorf). This featured the two artists as living sculptures alongside papier-mâché figures of American President John F. Kennedy and the art dealer Alfred Schmela, as well as works by Lueg, Richter and Joseph Beuys, amongst the furniture displays. The event was critical not only of the consumerism of post-war West Germany, but also of the art scene in Düsseldorf, which was dominated by Galerie and by the Zero group. Lueg’s subsequent work under the banner of ‘Capitalist Realism’ was a loose exploration of both popular imagery and commercial patterns, in paintings such as ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Kaunas, Lithuania, Nov 8, 1931; d Boston, MA, May 9, 1978).

American artist, architect and designer. Maciunias is best known as the key impresario of Fluxus, the international group of artists, composers, poets and performers who came together in 1962. Maciunas chose the name “Fluxus” to galvanize the radical activities of this group, and to define a sense of constant, dynamic, agitation and thus a politics for the work. Arriving in the USA in 1948, he studied graphic design at New York’s Cooper Union, architecture at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, PA, and art history at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. At this time he developed vast, genealogical art history charts, which he called “Learning Machines.” He later used this model to situate Fluxus within the genealogy of 20th century avant-gardes.

A 1960 class in Electronic Music with Richard Maxfield at the New School for Social Research introduced Maciunas to the New York avant-garde. In 1961 he opened the AG Gallery on Madison Avenue, New York, asking ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

(b San Rafael, CA, Jan 11, 1955).

American sculptor, installation artist and musician. Marclay studied at the Ecole Supérieure d’Art Visuel in Geneva and at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Influenced by Fluxus, the interdisciplinary art movement of the 1960s, the experimental music of John Cage, and the punk and art bands of the late 1970s, Marclay started to perform in clubs in New York, playing his own record collages, which he had made by cutting up vinyl records and gluing them back together in different configurations.

For Marclay, making objects is about altering objects in order to extract new meaning, as with his stitched-together record covers or his Record without a Cover (Recycled Records, 1985) that was distributed without a sleeve or cover to allow it to accumulate dust and scratches. In 1989 he created Footsteps, an installation at the Shedhalle in Zurich, by covering the floor of one of its galleries with 3500 vinyl records. Visitors had to step on the records to reach the other galleries. The scratched and stepped-on records, which featured the sounds of a tap dancer, were sold afterwards....

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, CA, Aug 4, 1944).

American sculptor. He did not have a formal art education. McCollum has stated that formative influence in his work included the Fluxus movement of the 1960s and the work of conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt and Daniel Buren. In 1975 he moved to New York. Departing from the notion of a work of art as a rare object of unique value, he introduced a procedure of studio manufacture of precast models made in unlimited editions. The series of Perfect Vehicles (exh. New York, Cash–Newhouse Gal., 1986) comprised small versions, cast in solid enhanced plaster (Hydrocal), of larger vessels that were sealed and painted in Moorglo on concrete, and first shown in the 1988 Venice Bienniale. Over 10,000 Individual Works (exh. New York, John Weber Gal., 1987) comprised precise rows of miniature units moulded from found objects, painted in enamel on solid-cast Hydrocal. McCollum scrupulously avoided aspects of ironical parody typical of Pop art. His works were not presented as decorative accessories or social commentary but as physical signs of the mechanical drives of existence—of repetitious behaviour and patterns of market-based relationships. For his ...