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Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 7 March 1926, in Halfway (Oregon); died 5 December 2008, in Cologne.

Painter, sculptor. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

From 1946 to 1950, George Brecht studied physical sciences at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science, and from 1950 to 1955, he trained as a chemist. He met John Cage in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Active also active in Germany.

Born 1926, in Sauve; died 2 December 1987, in Les Eyzies (Dordogne).

Installation artist, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Mail Art (forerunner).

The French artist Robert Filliou was closely associated with the Fluxus group, his career embracing French, German and American developments. Having moved to the USA in ...

Article

John R. Neeson

Installation art is a hybrid of visual art practices including photography, film, video, digital imagery, sound, light, performance, happenings, sculpture, architecture, and painted and drawn surfaces. An installation is essentially site specific, three-dimensional, and completed by the interaction of the observer/participant in real time and space. The point of contention with any definition concerns the site specificity, ephemerality, and consequently ‘collectability’ of the work itself. One view has it that the category installation is presupposed on the transitory and impermanent, the second that an installation can be collected and re-exhibited as a conventional work of art.

In either case installation had its genesis in the environments and happenings devised by artists in the 1950s in New York and Europe (Nouveau Réalisme in France, Arte Povera in Italy). These in turn had antecedents in the architectural/sculptural inventions such as the various Proun rooms of El Lissitzky and the Merzbau of Kurt Schwitters...

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

American experimental music class held by John Cage in New York. Although Cage had been faculty at the New School for Social Research (called the University in Exile in the period of and immediately after World War II, and subsequently, The New School University) since the early 1950s, team-teaching with his early mentor Henry Cowell (1897–1965), his critical tenure there was 1956–1960. It was in these years that his own work was hitting its greatest strides, and his dynamic classes reflected as much. The class focused on Cage’s most exploratory moves in music, not only his own trajectory—informed by Marcel Duchamp, Zen, and the international postwar avant-garde scene—but also new developments at Darmstadt (whether he was for them or against them), the world epicenter for exploratory musical work, which was driven by a younger generation mostly engaged with new sound technology.

Cage’s pedagogical modus operandi was surprising, in part due to his strikingly “low-tech” means. He was known for exemplifying the spatialization of sound, and its capacity for constant change, by such methods as placing a pencil—rubber eraser pointing down—between the strings of the New School classroom piano, to show students how, via direct alterations to the source, sound could be ...

Article

Czechoslovak, 20th century, male.

Born 1940, in Plzen.

Painter, draughtsman, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

Between 1948 and 1956, Milan Knizak studied at the Mariánské Lázne school of music, at the academy of fine arts, and at the faculty of mathematics and physics in Prague. He taught at several American universities and art colleges in Germany and Austria. He was appointed rector of the academy of fine arts in Prague in ...

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

Austrian, 20th century, male.

Born 1938, in Vienna.

Painter, collage artist, draughtsman, mixed media. Multimedia.

Fluxus, Body Art.

Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionists).

Hermann Nitsch was a pupil of the Graphische Lehr und Versuchanstalt (the school of applied arts) in Vienna from 1953 until 1958. With Gunther Brus, Otto Muehl and Rudolf Schwarrtzogler, he belonged to the Wiener Aktionismus (Vienna Actionists) which sprung up in the early 1960s in Austria. This was the equivalent of the ...

Article

Korean, 20th century, male.

Active in Germany and the USA.

Born 20 June 1932, in Seoul; died 29 January 2006, in Miami.

Installation artist, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Cyber Art.

Paik Nam June’s family fled to Hong Kong, and later to Japan at the onslaught of the Korean War. He studied the history of art and music in Tokyo and continued his musical studies at Munich University and Freiburg Conservatory. During his studies, he was introduced to electronic music by Karlheinz Stockhausen and became friends with John Cage. In ...

Article

Mick Hartney

(b Seoul, July 20, 1932; d Miami, Jan 29, 2006).

South Korean video artist, performance artist, musician, sculptor, film maker, writer, and teacher, active in Germany and the USA (see fig.). From 1952 to 1956 he studied music and aesthetics at the University of Tokyo. In 1956 he moved to the Federal Republic of Germany: he studied music at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, and worked with the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen at Darmstadt, before joining Fluxus, with whom he made performance art, experimental music, and ‘anti-films’ (e.g. the imageless Zen for Film, 1962). His Neo-Dada performances in Cologne during this period included a celebrated encounter with John Cage, during which he formed a lasting friendship with the avant-garde composer by cutting off his tie. Inspired by Cage’s ‘prepared piano’, in which the timbre of each note was altered by inserting various objects between the strings, Paik’s experiments from 1959 with television sets, in which the broadcast image was modified by magnets, culminated in his seminal exhibition ...

Article

Grischka Petri

(b Leverkusen, nr Cologne, Oct 14, 1932; d Berlin, April 3, 1998).

German painter, sculptor, décollagist, composer, video artist, and performance artist. He was one of the fathers of the European Happening movement. Vostell studied typography, lithography, and painting in Cologne, Wuppertal, Paris, and Düsseldorf (1950–58). In 1959 he married Mercedes Guardado Olivenza in Cáceres, Spain. Early in his career he discovered Décollage , a technique of cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing pieces of an image. His spelling of the term, dé-coll/age, underlined the term’s dialectical implications of destruction and creation. In the 1960s he worked with chemicals to transfer the process to photography, video, and film, turning it into an all-encompassing strategy of image deconstruction, often within the iconographic framework of violence and sexuality as communicated by mass media.

Vostell’s combined décollage with car parts and television sets, being one of the first artists using such a device as part of a sculpture in 1958. In 1962 he joined the ...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b Burlington, IA, 1923; d Martins Creek, PA, Sept 21, 1988).

American multimedia and performance artist. Watts was a pioneering figure in the development of Fluxus and Pop art . Before settling squarely into Fluxus, Watts was associated first with both because of his use of ready-made objects, his concern with space-time activation of the work and for the insertion of objects into performance frameworks. Watts was a pioneering figure in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s experimentation with new media (e.g., industrial plastics, aluminum foil) and emergent technologies as well as new distribution mechanisms. He trained as a mechanical engineer before turning full-time to art, studying in New York at the Art Students League, and at Columbia University, and receiving his MA in Art History (1951). Watts taught at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, from 1952 to 1984, where he had a significant influence on a generation of students who would produce some of the leading intermedia art of the 1960s and 1970s. His own art began at the cutting edge of new media experimentation—with works of the 1950s incorporating electric light, incandescent wire, random circuitry—and intelligently extending the critique established by the Duchampian readymade. In the early 1960s he made original contributions to the emergent vocabulary of everyday objects that would define advanced art of the 1960s. In particular, his deployment of photography—with actual objects to fracture the “real” (e.g., photographs of food and cutlery, mounted as a place setting in ...