The George Maciunas Foundation Inc. / Fluxus Foundation

Cultural Center in The Chelsea 14th - 19th area

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American-Lithuanian artist George Maciunas(November 8, 1931 – May 9, 1978) is best known as the founder and central coordinator of Fluxus from 1962 until his untimely death in 1978. Fluxus was a collective of artists, musicians, and designers bound by their intermedia sensibility and experimental enlightenment. Though Maciunas coordinated artists from around the world, they were globally unified by a fundamental philosophy which merged art, culture, and life. John Cage, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Nam June Paik, Joseph Beuys, and George Brecht are some of the members who shared Maciunas’ vision.

As a phenomenon of interdisciplinary and conceptual practice, Fluxus has been viewed by art historians as more than a temporal movement or an aesthetic doctrine, but “an active philosophy of experience that sometimes only takes the form of art”. Among its fundamental concepts included the notion that everyday life should should break into art and as such, the artist should use their ideas as a potential for social change. Because Fluxus’ thoughts and practices extended art beyond its traditional boundaries, its ideas have played a role in frameworks such as multimedia, telecommunications, hypertext, industrial design, urban planning, architecture, publishing, philosophy, and management theory. Though coming to a scholarly consensus on how Fluxus can be defined has proved to be difficult, its lively ideas, distinct and innovative when they were pioneered, are still a forum for philosophical practice today.

Truly a ‘learning machine’, George Maciunas obtained degrees in art history, graphic design, architecture, and musicology over the course of eleven years. In effect, Maciunas used his extensive education to develop innovative solutions to better society. Without personal profit, Maciunas transformed several loft buildings into Fluxhouse cooperatives, collective living environments for artists, during the late 1960’s when the area was a dilapidated post-industrial site. As these artists cooperatives played a major role in renovating SoHo, he is credited as the “Father of SoHo” for gentrying SoHo into the neighborhood it is today. His architectural work also includes “Fluxhouses”, prefabricated dwellings which can easily assembled at a minimal cost and expand, contract, or change shape to meet any required function. These projects reflect his pragmatic sensibility in his emphasis on flexible and affordable systems. As his projects extended art beyond its traditional confines, his work critically bridged art and political spaces with a utopian intent to move culture towards an ideal of freedom.

As a proponent of educational reform and interdisciplinarity, Maciunas’ views on education strongly influenced the objective and composition of his work. In essence, Maciunas’ “Flux-boxes”, atlases, diagrams, and historical charts reflect his ideas on improving education through new forms of information processing. His Fluxus Manifesto, which declares “Promote living art, anti-art, promote non art reality to be grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals”, reflects his conviction that art should extend into a universal space and reflect socio-cultural awareness of the world around the artist.

Maciunas’ efforts to regenerate and revolutionize art and life dealt with the epistemological underpinnings of knowledge itself. As conceptual projects of methodology and structure, his diagrammatic works reflect Maciunas’ aesthetic philosophy to regard knowledge as a form of art. At the core of Maciunas’ artistic corpus was a humanitarian effort to allow a collective of artists to freely create, develop, and encourage the proliferation of ideas in a unified space. In essence, Maciunas advocated knowledge as art, sought to apply it through education, and created the social spaces in which it could flourish. His diversity of achievements is testament to his complex and innovative approach reconciling idealism and pragmatism, humor and a meticulous work ethic, as well as tremendous generosity and extreme thrift. Though Maciunas’ revolutionary contributions were cut short by his chronically failing health with an early death at forty-six years old, his contributions continue to influence contemporary thought and culture.

The George Maciunas Foundation, Inc. was created as a non-for-profit organization in 2009 with three overaching objectives to study, extend, and preserve the work and legacy of Maciunas. George Maciunas Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-for-profit arts organization that is committed to fostering Fluxus scholarship, providing artists grants, cultivating Maciunas’ ideas into practical application through new projects in contemporary society, sponsoring Fluxus related exhibitions, and protecting the Maciuanas name in a manner respectful of his original mission. The Foundation aims to facilitate greater access to information and materials about Maciunas while ensuring intellectual property and copyright protection. The George Maciunas Foundation pledges to pay tribute and revitalize the legacy of an artistic genius who worked with great principle and dedication to help construct a more equitable and creative way of life for all.

Founded by Harry Stendhal in 2009 George Maciunas Foundation Inc. has been active since November 2011.

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Address: 454 W19th St., New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-675-4392

Between 10th and 9th Aves. Subway: C/E to 23rd Street.

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