Art takes time
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George Maciunas was an artist ahead of his time, who happened to be Lithuanian.
He was a friend of my family and an inspiration to a generation.
His art was inspirational, his style revolutionary.
Check out the use of fonts in this early 1960's work.
His art was best described as anti-art.
Sense of humor was always needed to fully appreciate his work.
His art explained by his own hand:
His art inspired many others to expand the fluxus theme.
I was lucky enough to attend the following as a very young man.
It was strangely wonderful...
The Fluxus event was well attended. The focus was
the white epoxy harpsichord that George
painstakingly rebuild in his basement apartment.
I remember visiting George with my dad and being
flabbergasted by his projects. Some of my favorites
were the suicide kits and feces kits that he sold. The
suicide kit consisted of small compartmentalized clear plastic
boxes that contained the necessary tools to do yourself
in. This kit did not include instructions so you had to get
creative with some of the objects. One was a fish hook on a string
that George pointed out. The hook would be swallowed
then by pulling up the on string you would get to your maker.
The feces kit was a display of some common and some unique
droppings. I remember George saying how hard it was to find butterfly
and ant droppings. He wore thick round wire frame glasses
at the time and his amusing gaze was amplified by the thick
lens'. He had a wry sense of humor and I think he really enjoyed
seeing your reaction to his various projects.
George lived in a old dilapidated building in Greenich Village. He
was slowly converting the building over to apartments which he then
sold for income. He had a crazy doorbell and kept metal gasoline cans
in the hallway filled with water with ubiquitous no smoking signs plastered
about. His basement apartment was always filled with projects in various
states of completion (during the feces projects the odor was indescribable).
George was creature of gastronomic habit. He loved to eat thawed frozen
strawberries and cottage cheese. He always purchased the same brand
and glued together the spent containers to make huge wall like partitions.He
also couldn't resist a bargain. He once spent several months eating goose liver
pate, three meals a day since he got a case load for such a good price.
His favorite color seemed to be white since he painted his entire apartment
in the one color. He purchased some Military surplus kitchen mixing bowls
that he installed as a tub and sink (the tub bowl still had the propeller attached
since it was originally used to mash large loads of potatoes). He also installed
a submarine water tight door as the bathroom closure. Every square inch of the
bathroom was then tiled in this favorite color.
To call George eccentric, would not do him justice. He was unique
and unfearing in taking his life to the edge. Many thought he was crazy.
But the term is unfortunately used to explain a mode of misunderstood behavior.
George was unique and a real inspiration to be around.
In talking with his sister I found out that George shunned public
attention. But the public was always the target for his particular
sense of art/humor which he termed fluxus (or sposai in Lithuanian).
His sister Niole, recalled the time George and his friends dressed in
dentist outfits, went to the well known Plaza Hotel in NYC.
They all knelt down in front of the hotel, took out tooth brushes,
and started polishing the sidewalk.
George also had a profound affect on one of the most endearing icons
of modern music. His Fluxus movement attracted a young artist from Japan
called Yoko Ono. Her talents were closely analogous to George's.
They became close friends and they worked together in collaborative
expositions. George was also close friends with John Lennon at the time.
As the story goes, it was through George that they both met, what followed
is now common knowledge.
One summer in the middle 1970's George got his nephew and myself a job
painting a newly purchased apartment in the Dakota building. Naturally the
color was white. The work took several days since the ornate woodwork ceilings
needed many coats of bargain paint. The messy job turn out fine and the Lennons' were
pleased. Today I always get a thrill seeing the 'Imagine' video set in a white
room. Thinking back about those wonderful days, and missing George's
special sense of humor.
I'm proud to say my dad participated in some of George's works.
Hopefully I'll be able to post additional works of fluxus from my
dad's 8mm film archives...
Stay tuned but remember:
All artwork is George's unless otherwise noted. I cropped some art to fit my site's format.
It might even be copyrighted, but George would have liked my copyright notice
If you would like to see the George's full artwork please visit some official Fluxus sites.
Here are some Fluxus related Links you might Enjoy:
Fluxus Home Page
I'd like to thank the people that emailed me some nice things about the page and George.
If possible I'll try to get more stories about the person from the people who knew him!
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