Showing posts with label George Maciunas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label George Maciunas. Show all posts

Monday, August 18, 2014

Film Culture 44, Spring 1967

Jonas Mekas (ed), George Maciunas (designer)
Film Culture 44, Spring 1967
New York City, USA: Film Culture, 1967
78 pp., 26.5 x 21 cm., softcover
Edition size unknown

Founded in 1955 by Jonas Mekas and his brother Adolfas, the New York-based magazine Film Culture is regarded as the seminal avant-garde cinema magazine. It began by covering Hollywood films and evolved into the primary voice of independent and avant-garde cinema, continuing on until 1996.

Film Culture took up offices in the 80 Wooster Street building that friend and fellow Lithuanian George Maciunas converted into the "creative co-op" that first brought artists into SoHo, changing the area forever, and earning him the epithet “Father of SoHo”. Maciunas was was the designer for nine of the seventy-nine issues of the journal. He responsible for the typography and layout of issues 14 - 18, 30, and 43 - 45. (Maciunas' design for Mekas' book Reminiscences can be seen here).

Maciunas bound issue #30 in corrugated cardboard and issue #43 was a newspaper dedicated to Fluxus, but #44 remains the most accessible (read: still available for under $150), while still showing the hallmarks of Maciunas' design. These include an envelope containing facsimile reproductions of hand-written notes to Mekas, his stylized interplay between image and typography and his own contribution “USA Surpasses All Genocide Records”.

"Maciunas was a highly skilled typographer and graphic designer. He did commercial work to seek out a living, but used non-commercial venues to experiment with new ways of representing ideas in graphic form. His multi-disciplinary studies in architecture, art and graphic design at Cooper Union, in architecture and musicology at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, and in art history at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, exposed him to an array of visual information—from musical scores to architectural blueprints—giving him the tools to develop his unique graphic style. We see this early on in his ambitious information charts, begun in the late 1950s, which trace developments in the histories of art and world events, covering antiquity to the present.

Well-versed in the history of the avant-garde from Dada to Lettrism, Macuinas continued these groups’ interests in the visuality of text, often as a means to explore the conceptually challenging spaces in which semiotics break down. Fluxus, in particular, but also journals such as Film Culture, were where his most inventive designs came to light."
- Tomas Schmit

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jack Coke's Farmer's Co-Op | Find the End:

Jack Coke's Farmer's Co-Op
Find the End: A Fluxgame
New York City, USA: ReFlux, circa 1991
12 X 9 cm.
Edition size unknown

In early 1967 George Maciunas received a parcel containing ideas for new works, which he initially attributed to Paul Sharits. The artist wrote Maciunas in the Spring to clarify: “your newsletter really freaked me out (I thought ‘wow, did i send all that stuff to george? i can’t even remember making any of it’)”. He then explains that the proposed works came from the students of Jack Coke, who taught alongside Sharits at the St. Cloud State College. Coke had been impressed with the early Flux Boxes and had assigned that his students should make their own. Sharits continued, “so, credit for that should go to the 'st. cloud state college farmer’s cooperative' (most of the kids up here are from farms and thought it would be nice to label themselves as such…weird kids, eh?!”

There is zero information online about Coke’s time at St Cloud (the above comes from Jon Hendricks’ comprehensive Fluxus Codex) but several Fluxus works were advertised by the collective, and at least two produced - Find the End and Human Flux Trap.

The box label is designed by Maciunas and includes a series of strings  knavishly knotted together. This Reflux reissue was released in the early nineties. The Fluxus version was advertised (for $3) in 1967.

Available from Printed Matter, here, for $45.00 US.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bob Watts | Light Flux Kit

Bob Watts
Light Flux Kit
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1973
33 x 21.8 x 9 cm
Edition size unknown

A George Maciunas designed label on Canal Street compartmentalized box containing “peculiar light bulbs, chemical light, optics, etc.” As with most Fluxus editions, the contents varied.

Maciunas described this work in a letter to collector Hans Sohm in 1972 as “very nice item, but not cheap” and gave the price as $60.00. A year later it was listed in Fluxus newsletters as $100. The work is available from Hundertmark Gallery, here, for 4800 Euro.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In the Spirit of Fluxus

In the Spirit of Fluxus
Minneapolis, USA: Walker Art Center, 1993
31.5 x 44.5 x 9 cm.
Edition of 100

To accompany the exhibition of the same name, this briefcase, borrowing its style from the 1965 Fluxkit, housed the exhibition catalogue (with essays by S. Anderson, E. Armstrong, A. Huyssen, B. Jenkins, D. Kahn, Owen F. Smith and K. Stiles) and various multiples and ephemera.

The contents reportedly vary somewhat, but typically include a T-shirt by Ben Vautier, Jeff Berner's "Cosmic inventory kit", buttons and cards by Henry Flynt and Giuseppe, "Geoff Hendricks' "Picnic garbage placemat", George Brecht's, "Drip music" and "Solo for violin", the Tellus compilation cassette that Barbara Moore edited, "Flux Box. Do-it-yourself" by Larry Miller, postage stamps by Robert Watts, a rubber stamp, a Yoko Ono shopping bag, and other printed items.

Available from Harry Ruhe, here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

George Maciunas | Flux Snow Game

George Maciunas
Flux Snow Game
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa] 1966
4 x 4.75 x 0.5 cm.
Edition size unknown

A clear plastic box with label attached to the lid, containing Styrofoam pellets. Presumably the viewer inadvertently spills the pellets when opening the clasp, thus completing the game by making it snow.

Flux Snow Game was announced in several Fluxus newsletters between '67 and '70, with a price of $3.00 (which, adjusted for inflation, would be approximately $22 today).

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jeff Berner | Fluxbook

Jeff Berner
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1966
10 x 12 x 2.7 cm.
Edition size unknown

A white plastic box containing book pages encased in epoxy, with a George Maciunas designed, offset-printed label.

For the alternate cover design, see previous post, here.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

George Maciunas | Breath Flux Test

George Maciunas
Breath Flux Test
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa late '60s]
6.7 x 6.7 x 5 cm
Edition size unknown

George Maciunas
Breath Flux Test
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa late '60s]
9.4 x 7.5 x 2.7 cm
Edition size unknown

A labelled plastic box containing various useless mechanical objects that Maciunas found in Canal Street surplus stores.

Announced in correspondence from Maciunas and in several Fluxus newsletters and price lists dating from 1972 to 1976, the work is thought to date back to the late sixties. The same graphic is used for both rectangle and square boxes (the white square, top, seems to be the same as those used for Yoko Ono's Box of Smile).

"A friend of mine who is paid restitution from the German government must go to the Consulate every six months to sign an affidavit that she is still alive. Perhaps the intention of Breath Flux Test is to show that you are still alive."
- Jon Hendricks, Fluxus Codex

Friday, March 7, 2014

Per Kirkeby Flux Box

Per Kirkeby
Flux Box
New York City, USA: Fluxus, [circa 1967]
12 x 10 x 1.6 cm.
Edition size unknown

A black plastic box with a label designed by George Maciunas, containing a black plastic rectangle. The work is sometimes referred to as Solid Plastic in Plastic Box.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Alison Knowles | Bean Rolls

Alison Knowles
Bean Rolls
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1964
7.9 x 8.4 x 8.4 cm.
Edition of 200

Designed by George Maciunas in 1963, a  four inch square cube contains seventeen tiny scrolls held closed with a small dental rubber band. On the scrolls are various mundane facts about beans, presented like an anonymous found poem. The work lists instances when beans are mentioned in songs, stories, science, cartoons, advertising, etc.  "I discover rare information about beans in libraries all over the world," Knowles told Ruud Janssen in 2007.

Knowles considers the work a "canned book" and it is sometimes cited as the first example, in the canon of artists' books, of a 'book object'. Actual beans are included, also, to produce a sound when the can is shaken.

Knowles used the Bean Rolls in performances, notably #12 from her Great Bear Pamphlet by Alison Knowles. (click here for the PDF):

Simultaneous Bean Reading (Autumn, 1964)
Using the Alison Knowles Bean Rolls* and six to eight performers, unroll the rolls over the audience and start reading aloud. Have the audience join in. A single performer goes among the other performers with scissors, cutting out large sections of the rolls. This performer deter- mines the length of the performance.

Premiered November 16th, 1964 at Cafe au Go Go, New York City.

Also included in Fluxkit, below.