Fluxus in Captivity

Dec 14 2011

I despise being a spectator. Although I was involved in athletics throughout most of my youth and teenage years, watching sports on television or even from the bleachers has always been a mind-numbing bore. For this reason museum and art exhibits have always been extremely difficult for me to appreciate.

Fluxus art is clearly different though. Whether it’s the anti-commercialism theme of many pieces, the way in which it combines different art media, or even it’s anti-art message, Fluxus is an alien movement in comparison to most art. However, the aspect of Fluxus that interested me the most was the attempt by artists to produce interactive works of art.

Such pieces were on display at the “Fluxus and The Essential Questions of Life” exhibit in The Grey Art Gallery. For example Yoko Ono’s “Painting to Be Stepped On” instructed the observer to leave a canvas or painting on the floor so that it could be stepped on. Such pieces kept in spirit with the anti-art message of Fluxus while giving a more direct involvement to the observer. Other “event” pieces held instructions for the observer to complete as well. However, I was utterly disgusted when our peer was told not to touch a book that was part of an art piece. It was then that I noticed all of the Fluxboxes held in captivity underneath clear glass cases. Surely the creators of these boxes would not be pleased. The exhibit had completely twisted the message of Fluxus. Rather than working in the lab, we were reading the textbook.

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