Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life

Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life

Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College

April 8, 2011
Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life

April 16–August 7, 2011

Hanover, NH 03755

[email protected]


Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life

The objects elaborate upon the themes in various ways. Regarding “Happiness?,” Bici Forbes’s (now Nye Ffarrabas) Stress Formula proposes that we need more jokes than drugs. A vitamin bottle whose label is inscribed with the suggested dosage, “Take one capsule every four hours, for laughs,” Stress Formula contains clear capsules with little rolled pieces of paper, presumably printed with humorous messages. Fluxus artists seem to agree that happiness is something we make for ourselves, not the result of something that happens to us.

Regarding “Change?,” Fluxus artists conclude that going with it can be a lot more fun than trying to fight it. As Ken Friedman suggests with his Flux Corsage (a plastic box filled with flower seeds), you might get started by getting yourself some flower seeds, planting and nurturing them, and giving the blossoms to someone you love. The plant will die eventually and so might your love, but neither of them will disappear; they will change into some other form of energy.

The essential function of Fluxus artworks is to help us practice life; what we “learn” from Fluxus is how to perform as an ever-changing self in an ever-changing world—and that a sense of humor helps.

The accompanying catalogue is conceived as an art self-help book that will be of interest to students and the general public as well as to scholars. The book, co-published by Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago Press, contains an introduction by the exhibition’s guest curator, Jacquelynn Baas, and essays by Baas, Fluxus artist Ken Friedman, and scholars Hannah Higgins and Jacob Proctor. After closing at Dartmouth, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life travels to the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, September 9–December 3, 2011, and to the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, February 25–May 20, 2012.

This exhibition and the accompanying full-color catalogue were organized by the Hood Museum of Art and were generously supported by Constance and Walter Burke, Class of 1944, the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund, and the Marie-Louise and Samuel R. Rosenthal Fund.

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April 8, 2011

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