Monday, 26 September 2011 – Fluxhibition #4 (including A Book About Death and Fluxface in Space) was in the Critic’s Top 5 Exhibitions in Forth Worth for 2011 from Fort Worth Weekly. (the show was in 2010 but they were including shows from the past 12 months)see fwweekly.com page
Fort Worth in Fluxus
The late-20th-century style is ready for takeoff in Fort Worth.
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 ANTHONY MARIANI Hanging through the end of October at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center will be Fluxhibition #4: Fluxus Amusements, Diversions, Games, Tricks, and Puzzles, a collection of more than 120 Fluxus artworks from 23 countries and five continents. Fluxus is a movement from the latter half of the 20th century defined by multimedia artworks that explore the gray area between camp and high art and that are diagrammatic, collagist, often text-heavy, and often satirical. Fluxus has roots in the work of such Modernist luminaries as Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, and John Cage and is perhaps more relevant today than ever: In an era of seemingly limitless information (visual, literary, and sonic), Fluxus art sharpens viewers’ bullshit detectors.
At the center of the international Fluxus movement today is the Ontological Museum, a virtual place founded and curated by Fort Worth’s Cecil Touchon, who came up with the idea after forming the International Post-Dogmatist Group as a student at the University of Texas-Arlington in 1987. “The International Post-Dogmatist Group intended to be totally inclusive of virtually everyone, and you have to exclude yourself from it to not be a member,” Touchon said with a laugh. “It’s not about creating a new power circle of insiders, and everyone else is out. It’s more like a sponge that absorbs everything that’s attracted to it.”
Group members are also “20 minutes ahead of everybody else,” Touchon said, “which is the length of time it takes to explain post-dogmatism to anybody.”
The Ontological Museum has a wing, the Fluxmuseum, whose permanent collection is about 20,000 pieces strong –– except when they’re on exhibit, they reside in a Fort Worth storage unit.
Which brings up Touchon’s current project: achieving tax-exempt status. The hope is that by becoming a bona fide nonprofit, the Ontological Museum will be able to find a permanent home. “The museum is an experiment in global communication, cooperation, and coordination and the idea of capturing across the contemporary moment whatever’s going on within as far as our network can reach out,” Touchon said. “So in the future, if anybody ever goes back and looks over this collection, they’ll see this constantly expanding influx of new people into the thing, and I think that alone is extremely fascinating. But the whole thing is, you’ve got the internet, you’ve got global culture, you’ve got the idea of a museum and artists running it themselves as an alternative to the typical older-style wealthy collectors who go out and buy whatever they like, and later they make a museum out of it. This is more like a working anthropological idea, like gathering bugs or something like that. It’s not about the value of the individual works but about the artistic value of it, its cultural value, its value as a piece of intellectual property as opposed to its preciousness as a collectible object.”
The birth of internet culture gave rise to the Ontological Museum. “The internet created this wonderful playground for these ideas,” he said. “The internet was a tremendous leveling device, because no matter how big or powerful any museum is, you only look atit through a screen that’s the same size as everybody else’s web page. Because of that, if you make your web page look more or less like a museum web site, to anybody coming to it, it looks the equal to any other museum. I mean, how would anybody know just from looking online?”
Before founding the Ontological Museum, Touchon started an e-mail group for collage artists. It eventually became another wing in the museum, the International Museum of Collage Assembly and Construction. Collage artists began collaborating with one another via snail-mail and were encouraged to donate works to the museum. Touchon quickly amassed about 1,000 pieces.
Eventually, Touchon discovered Fluxus via the internet. “Wow, a lot of what these guys are doing, I’ve been doing since the 1970s,” he said. “I realized I was pretty much a Fluxus artist.” He started the Fluxmuseum about four years ago.
The first Fluxhibition, Party in a Box, didn’t go so well –– one of the collaborators refused to return the package that had been mailed to him (and still hasn’t, to Touchon’s great dismay). The second Fluxhibition, New and Improved Fluxus, was a statement groupshow and fared much better. “A lot of us have been working since the 1970s on Fluxus ideas, but we weren’t connected to those original guys,” Touchon said. “And so there’s been sort of this transition of the old first-generation Fluxus guys and now all of us, but we’re claiming to be that same group as opposed to all the artists who are working with those same ideas but are totally independent and don’t think about a group. Part of Fluxus is group activity. That’s a big element of it.” The membership in the core group is “very elastic,” Touchon said. “It might be 10, or it might be 50 to 100” artists.
For New and Improved Fluxus, “We were introducing ourselves as, ‘We are Fluxus guys, and that’s just the way it is, and if you don’t like it, tough,’ ” Touchon said with a laugh.
The third Fluxhibition, Thinking Inside the Box, was also a success. Consisting of boxes and drawing from both the Fluxmuseum and collagist wing, the group show featured a piece by Yoko Ono and was “really well received,” Touchon said, noting that it also got a “two thumbs up” from Picasso Gaglione, an early Fluxus artist who happened to be in town and caught the show, at UTA.
One of the few times that contemporary Fluxus members have metin person was in New York City a couple of years ago. The occasion was the opening for A Book About Death [brainchild of Matthew Rose], a massive collection of postcards inspired by the work of early mail-artist Ray Johnson. The celebration was capped by a couple of Fluxus performances, including Requiem for Rubberbands, in which a cantor sang the first few lines of Mozart’s Requiem (inserting “Fluxus” in certain parts) while Touchon and the audience played rubberbands strapped to their fingers like mini-guitars. “At the end we shot them up into the air, and rubberbands were raining down on everyone,” Touchon recalled.
Touchon has concepts for shows scheduled through 2016 and is confident that he could rotate Fluxus exhibitions every month for years “and that’s even if no one sends me any more art.”
Notable Fluxmuseum pieces include “Soul Fart,” a red-and-white-striped handheld object that is placed to the butt (and then preferably photographed) and also “The Key to the Lock is in the Box,” a small box made out of keys, including the key that unlocks the box.
Upcoming Fluxhibitions include the Fluxcase Micro-Museum and Fluxface in Space, a part of Face in Space, a NASA program in which fans can upload photos of themselves to be launched into space as part of the two remaining space shuttle missions. Fluxus artists will be taking photos of themselves and their art. A group exhibition will follow, everything leading up to the Jubilee Jamboree, the Fluxmuseum’s celebration of Fluxus’ 50th anniversary.
Touchon, who is represented locally by William Campbell Contemporary Art, could focus only on his own work, but he is driven by a curatorial spirit. “I’m in galleries all over the country,” he said. “I make a living [via my artwork], which is actually kind of hard to do in the art industry, and I do pretty well. So for me, you can promote yourself, but how far does that go? You can promote your career only so much. I want to include a whole lot of other people in my process and my experimentations in life.”
International Fluxhibition #4, A Book About Death
Both thru Oct 30 at Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St, FW. Free. 817-738-1938.
ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE BELOW
The Ontological Museum
6955 Pinon Street Fort Worth Texas 76116http://ontologicalmuseum.orghttp://fluxmuseum.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
INTERNATIONAL FLUXHIBITION #4 – FLUXUS AMUSEMENTS, DIVERSIONS, GAMES TRICKS AND PUZZLES: Works from USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, South Korea, Japan, China, Philippines, Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, France, Greece, Australia, Portugal, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia.
OPENING: October 8, 2010 – 6 PM – 9 PMEXHIBITION: October 8-30, 2010; Monday – Saturday, 10AM – 5PMTHE EXHIBITION ONLINE: http://fluxmuseum.org/fluxhibition-4/
FOR ALL INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, IMAGES PLEASE CONTACT:Cecil Touchon, Director,The Ontological Museum:Tel. 1 817 944 4000Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – The FLUXMuseum is pleased to present its fourth international exhibition of recent acquisitions to the permanent collection entitled: INTERNATIONAL FLUXHIBITION #4 – FLUXUS AMUSEMENTS, DIVERSIONS, GAMES, TRICKS AND PUZZLES. The exhibition consists of more than 120 works of art from 23 countries on 5 continents.
Conceived and curated by Cecil Touchon, founding director of the Fluxmuseum, Fluxhibition #4 explores the playful, ephemeral, conceptual, performance based art of the contemporary Fluxus community. Artists created a variety of unique games, puzzles and other artworks inspired by games or amusements.
Fluxus is an expression of avant garde art that finds its place along the trajectory of Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Situationalism, and Conceptual Art with roots in the work of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, and John Cage . The contemporary fluxus community refers to this rich legacy in the works conceived for this show.
Fluxus is an invented word that focuses on the various meanings of the word ‘flux’: to flow, to be fluid, to fuse together, to change. At times references are made jokingly to its meaning related to the discharge bodily fluids. The tradition of Fluxus began in 1961with the invention of the word by George Maciunas in New York City. Of Lithuanian decent, Maciunas had a socialist bent and was contemptuous of the High Art establishment and saw it as exclusive and elitist. Hoping to start a revolution, Maciunas saw himself as an outsider who could design an art strategy that democratized art production and return art to ‘the people’ by thinking about art as an activity that virtually anyone could participate in. Thus most fluxus works are intentionally amateurish, low budget and potentially intended for mass production and mass consumption.
Ironically, the Museum of Modern Art, recently acquired the massive Gilbert and LilaSilverman Fluxus Collection considered by MoMA to be the largest collection of its kind comprised of approximately 3,000 works in mediums ranging from printed ephemera, multiples, drawings, and sculptural objects, to photographs and film. In addition, an archival component includes more than 4,000 files with such items as artists’ correspondence, notebooks and scrapbooks, as well as documents and photographs related to Fluxus performances and events. The final component of the Silverman Fluxus Collection is a reference library of over 1,500 related books and catalogues.http://press.moma.org/images/press/PRESS_RELEASE_ARCHIVE/FluxusFinalRelease.pdf
Fluxus art often deals with the ephemera and activity of everyday life to create works that subvert the intent of the materials or bend them to another purpose. This might include rendering utilitarian objects useless or creating alternate uses not originally intended in order to reinvent the world in unexpected ways. The use of chance is common.
Fluxus art can be utterly genius in its economy. Fluxus is credited with coming up with the event score which is akin to a musical score but is in the form of written instructions. These instructions can be brief and enigmatic and might even be a single word that suggests some sort of action, event or performance such as George Brecht’s EXIT. And even further, an event score can be reduced to a sign such as an arrow or a hand pointing. Fluxus artists enjoy exploring the powerful potentialities of everyday things and images by looking at them with the awakened and curious mind of the artist.
Fluxus works are very often larger than themselves in the sense that the works might be referencing something outside of their material existence. For instance, a work might actually be an artifact of some other art event or the work might be more of a prop for some performance or event. Fluxus artworks often play with that uncertain space between the expected and the unexpected which is where the secret of humor is found and humor is very often at the heart of many Fluxus works.
WORKS IN THE SHOW
Works in the present show – the largest of its kind ever assembled – have in common the general idea of play and joking around. Depending on the personality and skill level of the artist, some works are elaborate, some are cleaver; some are cheesy; some are ironic; some are beautiful; some are lude: taken as a whole, all are entertaining.
A color catalog will be produced for the exhibition and will be available to order when complete.
The Fluxmuseum (fluxmuseum.org) is a wing of the Ontological Museum founded in 1994 (ontologicalmuseum.org). FLUXmUSeum was founded by Cecil Touchon in 2006 with the intention of documenting 21st century fluxus artists. The Fluxmuseum is dedicated to the collection, performance, production, publishing, promotion, exhibition, documentation and safekeeping of works of the international contemporary Fluxus community. The Fluxmuseum is an inclusive venture inviting any artist who feels a connection to fluxus to participate in museum projects and to contribute works to the collection.
THE ONTOLOGICAL MUSEUM
The Ontological Museum has several wings including the Fluxmuseum, the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction, the Museum of Snapshot Photography and the Archives of the Eternal Network (for mail art). The Museum is fashioned along the lines of a scientific or anthropological museum in that it is a specimen gathering museum attempting to archive artworks and documents of contemporary artists from around the world whose work falls within the general interests of the museum. The museum is artist designed, artist run and artist supported. The collection is growing at an astounding rate and we are now looking for a permanent home for the museum and funds to operate, care for and exhibit the collection. Contact us if you have a space we can use or wish to contribute.
For more details,http://fluxmuseum.org/http://ontologicalmuseum.org (see all our projects)http://fluxhibition04.blogspot.com/ (this show online)
FOR ALL INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS, IMAGES PLEASE CONTACT :Cecil Touchon, Director, The Ontological Museum: 1 817 944 4000 E : email@example.com