Fluxus Hated Museums — Now Museums Love Fluxus

Ben Vautier, Total Art Match-Box, about 1965. Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, MoMA
Fluxus, the almost indefinable global art movement that ran from the 1950s to the 1970s, rejected the art market, intellectual theorizing, and museums. Fluxus was a DIY anti-art of concepts, performances, humor, and small, cheap materials. Fluxus has had a limited presence in museums, but that's starting to change. As one marker of that, just in the past few weeks the Getty Research Institute has announced the acquisitions of the archives of Fluxus artists Emmett Williams (1925–2007) and Simone Forti (born 1935).

Emmett Williams, abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz (Alphabet Poem), about 1963. Getty Research Institute. © The Estate of Emmett Williams
Simone Forti, Red Hat in Yellow and Red Landscape, 1966. Getty Research Institute
George Brecht, Deck and letter to George Maciunas, 1966. Jean Brown collection, Getty Research Institute
The GRI has been acquiring Fluxus materials since 1985, when it added the 6000-piece Fluxus collection assembled by Jean Brown. This was the first major set of contemporary material acquired by the GRI. Since then the institute has added individual archives of Allan Kaprow, Robert Watts, Yvonne Rainer, David Tudor, and others. Though the main mission of the GRI collection is to aid scholarship, in the case of Fluxus there is a thin line between document and art work. Fluxus material has often been included in GRI exhibitions, such as as 2017's concrete poetry show.

In 2008 Gilbert and Lila Silverman donated their Fluxus collection to the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA had ignored Fluxus when it was being created; since then selections from the Silverman trove of 7000 items have been regularly on view in collection installations. Another important museum-based holding of Fluxus is at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. In L.A. the Broad has a 570-piece collection of Joseph Beuys multiples.
Joseph Beuys, Evervess II 1, 1968. The Broad. (c) Artists Rights Society, New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
The GRI's Williams archive includes concrete poems, artist's books, prints, paintings, and photographs. The Forti material spans diaries, performance notations, paintings, drawings, and Xerox collages.

In the 1970s Forti collaborated with physicist-artist Lloyd Cross to produce so-called multiplex holograms. These used the medium to produce a blend of 3D and a moving image. The GRI Forti archive includes one such hologram, Movements/Crawl Sit. Another hologram from the same series was featured in LACMA's 2018 "3D: Double Vision" (and acquired by LACMA).
Simone Forti, Striding Crawling, about 1975–78. LACMA. © 2019 Simone Forti, photography © 2019 Fredrik Nilsen, All Rights Reserved


Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
I remember my first visit to LACMA in the 80's. I thought we were going to a mall. The Ahmanson building looked like a Broadway Department Store. ... The Pereira buildings were a testament to bad taste.

What might have been? The Board selected van der Rohe. Howard Ahmanson vetoed the choice.
Ahmanson also drove Ric Brown, the Director, out of town.

Brown was a man of great taste. He went on to become Director of the Kimbell Art Foundation. There, he oversaw the construction of the Kahn building, an architectural masterpiece.

Maybe, it was all meant to be. Van der Rohe + Kahn = Zumthor.
Anonymous said…
For all intents and purposes, the only somewhat decent, general encyclopedic-museum on the West Coast and west of the Mississippi has been destroyed. In one way, LA has returned to its roots as a cultural backwater---at least in terms of LACMA representing a publicly owned (presumably) and publicly managed (presumably) institution.

To have allowed the idiotic Michael Govan to get away with this debacle says a lot about just how corrupt and reckless many public figures in LA are.

It's not merely about the Zumthor pile of concrete being this or that. It's just as much about the elimination of any other stable aspects of the now-defunct LA County Museum of Art. From its budget to its curators, from its collections to its conservation laboratory, from its theater to its hundreds of donors.

There is a nice, warm place in hell for Michael Govan.
Anonymous said…
Hundreds of donors? Where are these hundreds of donors who wanted to save the old LACMA? Not even the Ahmanson Foundation came forward with a large pledge to save the old LACMA.

You think David Geffen was going to give $150 million to save a building named after a family (the Ahmanson's) whose money supported the passage of Prop 8.

If anyone looks like an idiot here, it's Giovannini, Goldin, the Ahmanson family, and the Save-LACMA mob. Govan and Geffen exposed all of you for the rustics and quacks you are.
Anonymous said…
The ruminations of an idiotic hick.

Thanks, rube!
Anonymous said…
^^^Let me guess.

For all your "sophistication" and "big" words, you did NOT have the money or connections to save the old LACMA from demolition.

Makes one wonder how "sophisticated" you really are...

Anonymous said…
LOL. You really do come off like the stereotypical Hollywood/LA airhead, one who values money and what's hip, trendy and au courant above anything else.

No wonder you sympathize with idiotic Michael Govan. After all, he's set LA back by decades, to the cornpone era of artwork sharing space with dinosaur bones in Exposition Park.
Anonymous said…
Kenneth Turan on recent onset of LACMA demolition: "Oh my god, I'd not focused on the fact that LACMA's 600 seat Leo Bing Theater, one of the best of L.A. movie showcases, was about to be demolished. What a shock. Where can we see Christian Marclay's 24 hour "The Clock" now that it's gone." LACMA's reply: "Following a directive from the artist, “The Clock” was shown, and only could be shown, once in Bing. However, it has been shown in our existing galleries as intended, and we look forward to showing it again in our new galleries."
Anonymous said…
Christopher Knight notes: "Under cover of Stay At Home, @LACMA begins the tear-down of its original campus." No reply from LACMA.
Anonymous said…
Carolina Miranda notes: "I'm no fan of the Pereira buildings. Or the Hardy Holzman extension. But boy do I think this Zumthor building is a spectacular mistake. The demolition of LACMA begins." No reply from LACMA.
Anonymous said…
Is there a short ledge on a high cliff that Michael Govan can be lured to? Maybe he can be coaxed into visiting the interior of one of the Pereira buildings as they're being demolished?

Yea, those are snarky remarks. But the conniving idiot that is Michael Govan deserves no less.
Anonymous said…
As if Knight and Miranda have any credibility on the matter...

Knight's articles on the encylopedic museum and the Ahmanson Foundation/LACMA gave a false version of history. What is worse is Knight pandered to and promoted the provincial activism of the Save-LACMA mob.

Miranda is NOT an architectural critic. She majored in Latin American Studies. She is NOT qualified to read a building, let alone declare that it will be a "spectacular failure." Does she even read her Pulitizer-Prize-winning peers at the NY Times? Because those peers recently checked her hubris by declaring that the Zumthor building will be "restorative" and a welcoming urban gesture.

It's shameful that Knight/Miranda is what passes for arts coverage at the LA Times. LA deserves better. Part of the reason many of you don't know about the artists emerging in LA is that Knight/Miranda have shown no commitment to covering what has happened or is happening in the museum boards and the art studios of LA. Indeed, for a complete account of what happened at MOCA with Helen Molesworth one had to look elsewhere. In many ways, Molesworth's dismissal was one of those events that would have allowed any astute reporter/critic to tell a broader story about patronage and what constitutes great art (Wood vs. Grotjahn). But Knight and Miranda were as clueless as ever.

If you want good arts coverage, subscribe to the NY Times, check ArtNews.com/ArtNet.com, or follow this blog. Stay away from Knight and Miranda. They are as phony as it gets in LA.
Anonymous said…
No one has stated that Knight and Miranda are the last word on the Zumthor project. But, Knight and Miranda are more than knowledgeable and qualified enough to assess the project in full and to offer persuasive insights on its financial viability, as well as on its design and function. Read everything, and make your own assessments.
Anonymous said…
> If you want good arts coverage, subscribe to the NY Times,
> check ArtNews.com/ArtNet.com, or follow this blog. Stay
> away from Knight and Miranda. They are as phony as it gets
> in LA.

Whereas a rube or rustic in LA, such as yourself, is what?
Anonymous said…
Christopher Knight on Mark Grotjahn:

"A gifted artist, the L.A.-born and -based Grotjahn has been working for 20 years. (More than one MOCA trustee is a major collector.) His painterly overhauls of established Modernist propositions can mesmerize. [...] Grotjahn’s geometric abstractions employ disjointed vanishing points, the kind originally invented to create a convincing figurative illusion but here swallowing up visual energy as if some vividly chromatic black hole. [...] A calculated frenzy dismembers Modernist tribalism."
--- https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-moca-firing-20180320-story.html

Painterly overhaul (as in engine and garage) and chromatic black hole (as in a vacuum and the universe), that's bad writing and nonsense. Disjointed vanishing points swallowing up visual energy, that's more nonsense? Close read if you dare. It's gibberish.

Knight must think his readers are not smart enough to recognize his empty words and phrases. Maybe he is right...
Anonymous said…
Sure, Jan.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
"For work demonstrating extraordinary community service by a critic, applying his expertise and enterprise to critique a proposed overhaul of the L.A. County Museum of Art and its effect on the institution’s mission." https://www.pulitzer.org/winners/christopher-knight-los-angeles-times