George Maciunas, an American-Lithuanian artist best known as the founder and central coordinator of Fluxus, was an exemplary processor of knowledge. Educated in architecture, painting, art history, graphic design, and musicology, Maciunas’s oeuvre demonstrates incredible diversity. He was true polymath who worked as an artist, architect, commercial designer, and real estate entrepreneur, among many other roles. Yet, his multifaceted output is unified by a diagrammatic aesthetic—one that illustrates his analytic mNew York, NYind and sheer meticulousness.
The copyright documents featured in this exhibition are a testament to Maciunas’s scrupulousness. Governed by a visionary and often dictatorial temperament, Maciunas strove for a “common front and CENTRALIZATION” of Fluxus. His belief in the necessity of strong leadership in maintaining collectivity led him to establish the official Fluxus Headquarters in New York in 1962. Under this new center of operations—which was organized as a publishing venture—Maciunas proposed that “authors are to assign exclusive publication rights to Fluxus” and that they “will not submit any works to any other publication without the consent of Fluxus.”
In order to safeguard the group’s interests as a monolithic entity, Maciunas sought copyright protection for Fluxus and its artists. In the immediate years following the formation of the Fluxus Headquarters, Maciunas painstakingly registered claims to copyright with the Library of Congress for works created under the Fluxus banner. On display is a selection of original copyright registration documents for notable Fluxus works including George Brecht’s Water Yam (1964), Yoko Ono’s Four (Fluxfilm no. 16) (1966), and Albert M. Fine’s Piece For Fluxorchestra (1966). While each of these works bears the names of the original authors, the ultimate copyright claimant is always FLUXUS, solely owned by George Maciunas. These documents not only express the output of what became known as the “Flux Golden Age,” but also spur contemplation of what it means to create art within a collective identity, the rigorous control one man exerted over Fluxus, and the role of legal protection in producing creative work.
Also on display, along with its original 1965 copyright registration document, is George Maciunas’s Prefabricated Building System. Accompanied by an architectural model and animated video projection, the Fluxhouse was Maciunas’s ultimate vision for social welfare and communal living.
The exhibition is on view from May 10 through July 27, 2013.
454 W 19th St
New York, NY, 10011