George Maciunas, Spell Your Name with these Objects(1976).
In this issue of The Art Section, we turn to Europe, both east and west, historical and contemporary. Our Italian correspondent Giuseppe Gavazza reports on an exhibition in Milan that melds visual art with sound; Editor-in-Chief Deanna Sirlin interviews acclaimed Dutch designer Tejo Remy; and art critic and historian Peter Frank discusses the Eastern European connections and associations of Fluxus.
A theme that runs through all of these reflections is that of commerce: specifically, the commodification of art and artists. All three articulate degrees of resistance to commodification. After visiting an exhibition that seems in part to trade on the names of famous artists, Gavazza calls for an “Art Without Logos” and wonders what impact such a concept might have on the practices of expectations of all participants in the art world. Sirlin asks Remy, directly, whether he would be interested in selling his design work through American chain stores as other designers have, and receives an equally direct, and negative, answer. And Frank notes that Fluxus founder “[George] Maciunas’ socialism with a lunatic face was a logical response to the reactionary corporate capitalism of his America no less than to the fascism that had overwhelmed his native land [of Lithuania]. . . .”
In addition, we are delighted to repot that the first event sponsored by The Art Section, an exhibition, ‘Endless Pleasure’ by Australian Artist Andrew Hewish in Atlanta on February 29th through March 2nd, was a resounding success, drawing a large and enthusiastic crowd. Stay tuned for future Art Section events!
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Philip Auslander is the author of Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music. He teaches performance studies at Georgia Tech.