ANYTHING CAN SUBSTITUTE ART: Maciunas in SoHo

December 11 - February 02, 2013

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George Maciunas, Sketch for an announcement of the Fluxus yearboxes, c. 1965 (Detail) George Maciunas's passport, 1972‒78 (detail) Postcard published and designed by Ben Vautier using the Fluxmanifesto designed by George Maciunas
George Maciunas, Sketch for an announcement of the Fluxus yearboxes, c. 1965 (Detail)

DECEMBER 11 - 20, 2012

JANUARY 2 - FEBRUARY 2, 2013

41 COOPER GALLERY
41 Cooper Square, LL1
New York, NY 10003

Opening Reception: Tuesday, December 11, 6-8pm
Open Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm.
Closed Sundays, Mondays, and December 21 - January 1.

Curated by Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt

Lithuanian-born artist, architect, designer, and self-appointed "chairman" of Fluxus, George Maciunas (1931‒1978, Cooper Union School of Art graduate 1952) radically challenged the idea of avant-garde art, whether as object, concept, or commodity. Fluxus, an international community of conceptual artists, poets and composers, sought to redefine the role of the artist by substituting art for everyday tasks, experiences, actions, and sensations.

This exhibition, created in collaboration with The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, Vilnius and The School of Art at The Cooper Union, NYC, focuses on rarely exhibited Fluxus works, as well as Maciunas' early works, charts, and his plans for artist housing in SoHo. Anything Can Substitute Art sheds new light on a pivotal historic period for both the city of New York and contemporary art's recent history, connecting the countercultural activism of the 1960s and 1970s to the moment of Fluxus.

The New York Times' Holland Carter calls it "bracing" and writes, "anyone who wants to get a sense of how art can be both activist and existentialist will find bracing information here."  The show has also been featured on ArtDaily and as an Artforum critic's pick!

Read more about this exhibit, including interviews with the curator.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.