Culture & History Digital Journal, Vol 5, No 2 (2016)

The Impossible Performance of Mass Commodity. George Maciunas, Herman Fine and Robert Watts’ Implosions Inc. (ca. 1967)


https://doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2016.019

Iñaki Estella Noriega
Post-Doctoral Researcher (MICINN, 2013) at Art History Department, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

Abstract


In the US context Fluxus is understood as an advance of the ‘60s radicalism. The assumption that Fluxus was opposed to consumption culture, as that embodied by Pop art, is among the interpretations that renew such a view. Examining the example of Implosions Inc., a short-lived but nevertheless interesting commercial enterprise formed by Robert Watts, Herman Fine and George Maciunas in 1967, this essay focuses its attention on the complex relationship between Fluxus and commercial culture. Implosions Inc. was a project in which many Pop artists were asked to participate along with its Fluxus founders, and it was intended as another step forward in the transformation of the artist into a commodity mass-producer. In analyzing this phenomenon, this article questions assumed principles in the Neo-avantgarde theory like the distinction between art production and culture consumption. The essay, however, will try to establish another paradigm that draws the differences between Pop art and Fluxus as the kind of audiences both these tendencies tried to conform. As a conclusion, the article fleshes out some ideas on individualism that were developed by Maciunas, which shed light on the notions surrounding the idea of collectivism as developed in Fluxus.

Keywords


Fluxus; Pop art; George Maciunas; commercial culture; consumerism and productivism

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