Fluxus, the Sprightly Godchild of Duchamp, Retrospectivized at Dartmouth
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 05-15-11
Helmet/Sky Puzzles, Yoko Ono, 2006
Image Source

Fluxus, the sprightly Godchild of Duchamp, has endless quantities of material around that will keep scholars and enthusiasts of conceptualism, antics, hijinks, and the general dada spirit busy for many years to come. A new exhibit at Dartmouth's Hood Museum: "Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life," presents a fair swath of the witty, irreverent output of this 1960's and '70's neo-Avant-Garde.

Fluxus works are like philosophic miniatures: very small pieces of really large questions about self, nothingness, art, everyday life and religion. An empty wine bottle is labeled "God." A painting is placed on the floor, inviting viewers to step on it (and there is plenty of dimly lit Baroque portraiture I would truly enjoy grinding a hiking boot over).

This last work is Yoko Ono's, who happens to be among my favorite Fluxus artists. I went to an exhibit at the ICA in Philadelphia which had a phone on the wall with text underneath suggesting that Yoko called it once every several weeks. I was disconsolate when it didn't ring while I was there. Then, two weeks later, a man in Manhattan's Lower East Side handed me a card with a hole cut out in it. He said that Yoko Ono wanted me to look, really look, at the sky through that hole. Somehow, this was redemptive.

We haven't convered Fluxus much so far at, but that should change. Got something interesting to say about Fluxus? Write to us and let us know.


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