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George Maciunas: The Dream of Fluxus at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Maciunas’ portrait of Dick Higgins, Lette Eisenhower, Daniel Spoerri, Alison Knowles and Ay-O for the Fluxus Street Events“ in New York, spring 1964.

GATESHEAD.- Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art explores the history and works of Fluxus through the renowned Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, Detroit. This unprecedented exhibition of over three-hundred and fifty works from 1961 – 1978 is the largest display of Fluxus ever mounted in Britain.

Fluxus is often historically regarded as a global network of influential and vibrant artists who shared a unique, if not united, aspiration to revolutionise the avantgarde. Through the introduction of concept art, intermedia, and radical
performance practices, Fluxus pioneered an aesthetic appreciation for the everyday. By intentionally confusing the boundaries of how and when an artwork could begin or end, exiting a room, making a salad, or ending a war were transformed into performative works of art.

Reflecting its international network of artists, Fluxus began in many places from as many creative perspectives. The origins of this network have been traced to the teachings of John Cage, the serial compositions of German composer Karl Heinz Stockhausen, and the organisational talents of graphic designer, architect, and artist George Maciunas. Maciunas was the self-appointed chairman of Fluxus. His political and agitprop approach to Fluxus aspired to a complete overhaul of the complacent bourgeois art world. Maciunas dreamed of a Fluxus whose collective spirit enabled the availability of Fluxkits, Fluxfeasts, Fluxfests, and Fluxfilms for the price of a paperback. Having coined the phrase Fluxus in 1961, Maciunas organised a series of groundbreaking European performance festivals beginning in 1962 that set the tone for countless Fluxus events that continue throughout the world in theatres, galleries, and on the street.

Centring on Maciunas’s contributions to Fluxus until his death in 1978, The Dream of Fluxus is curated by Thomas Kellein of Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany in collaboration with Jon Hendricks, curator of the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection.

This collection of works, many of which were acquired directly from the George Maciunas estate in 1984, began with Gilbert Silverman’s interest in the work of Fluxus artist Geoffrey Hendricks in the early 1970s. Silverman adds: “You have to understand that real collectors are on a major ego trip and that the idea of collecting something is to have something more than someone else, that if I worked very hard and really fast I could put together the biggest Fluxus collection in the world.”

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