A portrait of George Maciunas

The life of George Maciunas – artist, graphic designer, urban activist and founder of the avant-garde group Fluxus – is subject of a documentary film screened Saturday, 10th of January in New York. The movie is realised by the Manhattan-based artist and independent filmmaker Jeffrey Perkins who met Maciunas in 1966. It is made out of Maciunas’ friends voices, material from 44 interviews that had been gathered by Perkins since 2010 on his travels to Europe, America and Japan. Perkins, who financed his movie solely by crowdfunding, aims to provide insight into the life and the achievements of Maciunas whilst realizing a portrait of this outstanding character and visionary artist.

Maciunas is partly known as the “inventor of SoHo”, the New York’s district where he first and ilegally turned abandoned loft buildings into artist’s studios, setting the starting point for SoHo’s now widely driven gentrification. He founded Fluxus in the 1960s,  chosing the latin term in order to express his conception af art as something flooting, flushing and purging. Regrouping famous avant-garde artist like Joseph Boys, George Brecht and Yoko Ono, Fluxus aimed at bringing art back to the street, back to its people.

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As was published in its “manifesto” in 1963, art should be purged of commercial use, exclusivity to intellectuals and the “mummifying” existence it leads in places like museums and galleries. According to the artist’s understanding, art can be anywhere, anytime and taking any form. They wanted to change the nature of art and the common understanding of what art could be.

For Jeffrey Perkins, these thoughts are as revolutionary as they are timeless. In realizing a portrait of George Maciunas he wants to “bring to the screen Maciunas’s life story but also make cinematic some of the big ideas that swirled around and shaped and characterized Fluxus. My job is to make the ephemeral visual. I think George would have appreciated the challenge.”

Emily Harvey Foundation, 537 Broadway, second floor, on Saturday, January 10, 2015, starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information and to reserve a seat by January 5, contact fluxauction@gmail.com

 

 

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