Saturday, May 26, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | Critical Mass

Geoffrey Hendricks [editor]
Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University.
New Brunswick, USA: Rutgers University Press, 2003
210 pp., 28 x 21 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The Catalogue for an exhibition held at the Mead Art Museum from February 1st to June 1st, 2003, and later at the Mason Gross Art Galleries from September 29th to November 5th, 2003.

Edited by Geoffrey Hendricks, the volume includes contributions by Allan Kaprow, Jackson Mac Low, Robert Watts, Al Hansen, Carolee Schneemann, Dick Higgins, Philip Corner, Milan Knizak, George Maciunas and others.

"Rutgers University, from 1958 to 1972, was at the center of many new developments in the art world. Artists connected with Happenings and Fluxus created works that had a major impact in New York and abroad. A dozen years after Allan Kaprow's first Happening on Rutgers University's Douglass campus in 1958, George Maciunas (Mr. Fluxus) created his major late composition, Flux-Mass, in the same space, and Hermann Nitsch, the Viennese Actionist, presented his controversial Orgies-Mysteries-Theater. These radical shifts in art paralleled calls to rethink attitudes about race, sex, gender, and war during turbulent times in America's history. Critical Mass chronicles this ephemeral work on the Rutgers campus and in New York City, and the innovations that grew from Bob Watts, Allan Kaprow, and George Brecht's "Project in Multiple Dimensions." With texts and performance scores by artists-together with numerous photographs of the events and essays by art historians and critics Hannah Higgins, Jill Johnston, Susan Ryan, and Kristine Stiles-Critical Mass presents a vivid picture of this dynamic moment. This volume is a companion to an exhibit at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and at the Mason Gross Art Galleries at Rutgers University. / Geoffrey Hendricks is a professor emeritus of visual arts at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University."
- Publisher's blurb

"So I made this catalogue—I made this exhibition, Critical Mass:Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University [1958–1972] from 1961 to 1971, or whatever the date parameters were. And I wanted to have all the text be by women, and I got Christine Styles, Jill Johnston—did Kate write something? Other than—well, you know, there was a piece of Al Hansen's."
- Geoffrey Hendricks, interviewed by Linda Yablonsky

Friday, May 25, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks | The Fertility of the Soil

Geoffrey Hendricks
The Fertility of the Soil
New York City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1992
28 pp., 12.5 X 16 cm., boxed
Edition of 160

A straw faggot and instructions for starting a fire are tied to binding thread.; "For Franklin Furnace Nancy Spero & Burning in Hell"
- Colophon

Available from Printed Matter, here, for $250.00 ($225.00 for members).

Philip Glass | Quartet # 4 (Buczak)

Philip Glass
Quartet # 4 (Buczak)
New York City, Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc., 1989
23 min
Edition size unknown

Brian Buczak was born in 1954, in Detroit, where he received his BFA from the Center for Creative Studies. He moved to New York City in 1975 at age 21, and met Geoffrey Hendricks shortly afterwards. His work, which includes paintings, drawing, writings, artist's books, film and performance - has been exhibited internationally, including Canada, Italy, and Iceland.

Buczak and Hendricks c-founded the Money For Food Press and produced many collaborations together. Buczak died from AIDS at the age of 33, on July 4th, 1987.

Hendricks commissioned Philip Glass to compose a piece to commemorate Buczak's life (offering a large canvas work in trade). It premiered on the second anniversary of Buczak's death, at either Hauser Gallery or Emily Harvey (online reports differ).

The work can be heard on the CD Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (Nonesuch, 1995), and online here.

"The music of Philip Glass, especially works composed after the formative period of the late '60s and early '70s, demonstrates a stylistic consistency that critics deride as utter predictability. And certainly, some of his most characteristic gestures have become movie music clichés: the murmuring minor third alternations and subtle shifts of metric accentuation that so drew in viewers of director Errol Morris' startling documentary The Thin Blue Line, for example, have been borrowed by numerous other composers looking to cast an anxious, pensive mood on a tense, cinematic moment. Still, even his harshest critics must admit that in a handful of works, Glass ventures rather far afield of his minimalist roots, exploring sounds and textures that merge with his more characteristic techniques in surprising and often moving ways.

Such is the case with Glass' String Quartet No. 4, subtitled "Buczak." The subtitle derives from the work's memorial nature, composed as it was in memory of artist Brian Buczak, who succumbed to AIDS in 1988 [sic]. The inevitable combination of mourning and remembrance play out in the work's musical character, which is likewise conflicted in its textures and techniques. At the core of the work's first movement is a device typical of Glass' oeuvre: a chord progression carried by slippery semitone voiceleading through a string of unexpected tonalities before finally and unexpectedly arriving at its starting point. Likewise, the metrical terrain constantly shifts, with units of three and four beats unpredictably juxtaposed (a trait not as prominent in Glass' later works, but central to expanding and contracting melodic cells of his early pieces).

What sets this movement off, however, is its occasional use of strident polytonal complexes. A theme with variations, the movement occasionally bifurcates the strings into divergent harmonic camps, carving out arpeggios and melodies on entirely different planes (an idea carried even further in Glass' Symphony No. 2). This stratification is enhanced by contrasts between arco and pizzicato articulations. The second movement is more mellow, but also more melancholy, its chromaticism drawn out into long, lyrical melodies and delicately strident harmonies reminiscent of Fauré or Debussy in a dark mood; reaching into the extended upper range, the violins evoke a yearning for transcendence. The third and final movement alternates between long-breathed chords and somber, minor-mode polyphonies, ultimately settling into the major mode and ending on a note of serene repose.

Glass wanted his fourth quartet to represent "a musical impression of [Buczak] as a person as well as a tribute to his life's work".

- Jeremy Grimshaw, Allmusic

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | Rulers, Ladders, and Buckets

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
Rulers, Ladders, and Buckets
New York City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1977
24 pp., 15 x 15 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

The first publication by Money For Food Press, this square booklet documents a performance by Brian Buczak and Geoffrey Hendricks at the Institute of Art & Urban Resources P.S. 1 in NYC, October 9 & 16, 1977. The slim titled featured seven reproduced photos and drawings and is signed by both artists on the cover.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady
New York  City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1978
25.3 x 25.3 cm.
Edition of fifty signed and numbered copies

A companion piece to the folder of the same name (see previous post), this cardboard boxed work contains a bent umbrella handle with a label that reads “THIS OBJECT FOUND ON MARCH 2, 1978”.

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak | The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady

Geoffrey Hendricks and Brian Buczak
The Wisdom of the Money for Food Lady
New York  City, USA: Money for Food Press, 1978
30 x 24 cm.
Edition of 50 signed and numbered copies

Produced for a performance and reading at Franklin Furnace, this pocket folder contains two pages from a medical book, a photographic slide, a flyer, a leaflet and a stapled price list. Hendricks had established the Money for Food Press with his partner Brian Buczak, a year prior.

"MFFP was originally created to expand the practices of its founders' artwork, which was rooted in Fluxus and Ray Johnson's New York Correspondence School. The press began with the booklet "Rulers, Ladders and Buckets," which documented a performance by Buczak and Hendricks at P.S. 1 in 1977. Over the next decade, dozens of publications were produced and distributed that intersected with the practices of New York-based artists such as George Maciunas, Lawrence Wiener, Alison Knowles and Nancy Spero. MFFP remained an essential compliment to Buczak's painting and post-Fluxus practice until his death from HIV/AIDS and related complications in 1987 and the exhibition reflects this through the inclusion of over thirty of his individual publications.

Throughout its existence, MFFP has embraced an accessible, democratic, do-it-yourself practice that encourages the breakdown of boundaries separating art and life. In the introduction to the offerings in their 1980 catalog, Dick Higgins writes "They exist as paradigms for our own imaginative processes rather than (at least primarily) investment commodities. Buy them and live well – keep them in your own private treasure chest, to be fished out and shown only to those with whom you share your own private elegances."

- Printed Matter press release

Bici Forbes Hendricks | Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Black Thumb Press

Bici Forbes Hendricks
Statement of Aims and Purposes of the Black Thumb Press
New York City, USA: Black Thumb Press, Inc., 1966
7 pp., 22.8 x 15.2 cm., staplebound.
Edition size unknown

A manifesto by Bici Forbes (now Nye Ffarrabas) for The Black Thumb Press, the publishing venture she co-founded with her then-husband Geoffrey Hendricks.

"[...] my feeling was that, well, Happenings are Kaprow, Events are Brecht, and Watts was there with Maciunas and the beginnings of Fluxus. It was exciting, but I wanted to find my own voice within this, rather than just being a part of what this circle of artists around me were generating. I was also involved in a heterosexual marriage, and in ’64 we had the birth of our daughter which had some impact in ways that deflected certain creative juices and drives. But I was also feeling connected with it all. Really, from ’63 when the Fluxus people came back from Europe, Bici/Nye and I were involved in doing things of this nature. I guess it was around this time that she asked Bob Watts, “how do you become a member of Fluxus?” and Bob sorta shrugged his shoulders and said “well you either are or you aren’t. It’s nothing you can join.” So we started the Black Thumb Press, and sent out cards, and kept an ongoing journal we called The Friday Book of White Noise where we would write down scores, thoughts, ideas. Then, when Watts and Brecht brought together their Monday Night Letter at the Café au Go-Go, we did a reading of “The Friday Book of White Noise” and Bici/Nye made a script/scroll as a Möbius strip — it was a continuous thing. These were Fluxus-like scores. And then, by ’65, George Maciunas began including us on his mailing list of names and we were taking part in Fluxus Banquets and a paper concert at the Time Life Building. So, sort of by osmosis, in the 60’s we began to be part of Fluxus, but still we were also in a little bit of an outsider role — something that my life has always had."