Over a half century ago, FLUXUS – a Latin word connoting continuous flow, flux and change was coined by George Maciunas (1931-1978) to name an avant-garde movement that has created a culture in flux by a global network of artists, musicians, designers, architects since the 1960s.
Fluxus founder George Maciunas is one of the most important artists of 20th century, whose works have been exhibited in major museums around the world with archives held in The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The Getty Research Institute, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, and Harvard Art Museum, etc.. Acquired in 2009 from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) currently holds the largest collection of Maciunas’ and Fluxus works in the world.
Maciunas is an artist, art historian, designer, publisher and above all, a visionary and inventive architect. He created invaluable architectural legacies, among which Fluxhouse Cooperatives in SoHo, which transformed lower Manhattan neighborhood from a post-industrial dystopia into a thriving area for contemporary art, is Maciunas’ most influential and widely practiced Fluxus project.
As an architect, Maciunas’ ambition is to construct a real solution to social and environmental needs of humanity through architectural innovation. He is credited with two inventions for prefabricated construction, and ultimately Fluxus Prefab System, a universal structure guided by long-range perspectives, in which Maciunas combines his architectural expertise and vision with interdisciplinary intelligence in a humble yet ambitious way, that values the rational reflections on architectural design, manufacturing process and urban development as a whole.
Like his ‘Learning Machines’, George Maciunas was an exemplary processor of information as an enigmatic analytic mind. Maciunas studied architecture, art history, graphic design, and musicology at the Cooper Union School of Art, Carnegie Institute of Technology Pittsburgh, and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in succession over eleven years (1949-1960). Despite the diversity of his education and artworks, Maciunas’ oeuvre is unified by a lucid diagrammatic aesthetic demonstrating a constructive interaction between data modeling and enlightenment. His engagement with functionality and chronology seen in his genealogies, atlases, and charts can be described as an art of organization which delved into the intuitive connections between a schema and its processes. Education, the process of transferring knowledge, is a theme present throughout these works and in “A Preliminary Proposal for a 3-Dimensional System of Information Storage and Presentation”, a proposal to reform what he viewed as the prema-ture specialization and fragmentation of the American education system.
The New York Times coined Maciunas’ title as the “Father of SoHo” for his Fluxhouse Cooperatives project, which transformed this neighborhood from a post-industrial dystopia into a thriving area for contemporary art since 1960s. In realizing a vision of architecture based on collective ownership, the Fluxhouse Cooperatives may arguably be Maci-unas’s most influential and widely practiced Fluxus project.
George Maciunas was awarded with architectural degrees from Cooper Union (1952) and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie In-stitute of Technology (1954). After graduating, he worked for several major firms, including Skidmore, Owing and Merrill (1955-57), the highly regarded designers Knoll Associates (1960-61) (interior design, interior graphics, exhibits, displays, structures), and Olin Mathieson (1957-1960) (R&D Aluminum div product development and design) where he is credited with the invention of a structural framework useful in construction of prefabricated buildings using extruded aluminum beams and columns. Furthermore, George Maciunas received two patents for the innovative structure system in 1961. Maciunas Prefabricated Building System design was completed and copyrighted in 1965 as an invention which can be used to build a single family house, high-rise building, or an entire city (Fluxcity™).
Maciunas’ work has been exhibited in many of the major museums around the world with archives held in The Whit-ney Museum of American Art, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The Getty Research Institute, and Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Acquired in 2009 from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection, The Museum of Modern Art currently holds the largest collection of Maciunas and Fluxus works of 3,000 items. As part of a touring exhibition organized by Dartmouth College, Maciunas’ work was featured in ‘Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life’ at New York University’s Grey Gallery in fall 2011 and University of Michigan’s Museum of Art in spring 2012. Germany’s Staatgalerie Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Gallery) opened Fluxus! Anti-art is also Art in December, 2012. Meanwhile Cooper Union announced Anything Can Substitute Art: Maciunas in SoHo, an exhibition that focused on rarely exhibited Fluxus works, with an emphasis on Maciunas’s plans for artist housing in Soho. The exhibition included a film of scenes from Maciunas’s life, described as “exhilarating and heartbreaking” by the New York Times. In spring 2013, The Museum of Modern Art, New York opened Charting Fluxus: George Maciunas’s Ambitious Art History. Most recently, the research of Fluxus Prefab System by Fluxus Foundation was featured in 14th Venice Architecture Biennial in 2014. Fluxus In China exhibition was awarded as Excellent Project for Promoting Smart City by Beijing Design Week Organization Committee.