In Focus: Revisions—Art, Materiality, and Continuity in Fluxus (1960s-70s)

This course interrogates the materiality of artworks and artifacts created in the spirit of Fluxus and other avant-garde aesthetic movements of the1960s and 70s, with a special emphasis on Nam June Paik’s first Fluxfilm, Zen for Film (1962-64). Participants will engage with the planning and development of the upcoming Focus Gallery exhibition and its digital components. Among the questions asked will be how the knowledge about materiality redefines visual knowledge; how change affects what the artwork is; and how ideas of appropriation, replication and re-enactment pose alternative ways of thinking about the continuing life of artworks. We will examine the ways in which the archive (as a conceptual space and a place of consignation), document, and trace partake in the life of the artwork from an array of perspectives. We will seek to identify the conditions that affected the curatorial, presentation and conservation cultures, leading to the emergence of a multifold character of the artwork, evident in its many manifestations. While largely practically oriented, this course combines methods of art history, material culture studies, philosophy, and the theory and practice of conservation. Participation in the previous courses, particularly “Beyond the Object Principle” (Spring 2014) is welcomed, yet not obligatory. 3 credits.