The artistic work of Henry Flynt (* 1940) counts among the best kept secrets in recent art history. In 1961 Flynt was the first to coin the term concept art, and was considered by connoisseurs of the North American art scene as one of its central actors. For all intents and purposes, a broader reception of his works of art which in 1959 were only sporadically shown, did not took place. Following the first institutional retrospective at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, later shown at locations throughout Germany, the exhibition Henry Flynt. Activities 1959 now makes an appearance in augmented form from March till May 2013 at the ZKM | Karlsruhe
. It was produced in collaboration with the artist.
The retrospective at the ZKM | Media Museum gives an overview of the artistic works of the North American artist, philosopher, mathematician, economist, composer and musician. His trans-disciplinary field the linking of many different genres , as well as his political engagement, make Henry Flynt one of the most distinguished, though hitherto unrecognized all-round talents. Together with numerous publications, documents and other archival materials, the significant selection of his works offer opportunity to appreciate the complexity of Flynts work in its historical genesis, and to place it in its contemporary historical context. The term he coined concept art goes back to one of Flynts essays that formed part of the publication An Anthology, edited by La Monte Young in 1963. Flynts term facilitated a new, critical examination of the traditional concept of art, and was to become stylistically influential for the artist production of the 1960s.
Flynt is the founder of Activism. This is political Action Art not centered on the individual, the body and art, but on social conditions. This is a model which has been revived today from Russia through to China. (Peter Weibel)
As part of the exhibition, the Subspace of the ZKM_Cube will also be arranged with a sound installation by Henry Flynt from mid-March on. This particular work by Flynt was inspired by the Illuminatory Sound Environment that could be experienced as early as 1979 in The Kitchen in New York. The project is a collaborative work by Henry Flynt and Catherine Christer Hennix.