Natilee Harren: Fluxus Forms of Activation

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 17:00-18:30 CEST

In the first lecture from the series Research Wednesday (Ger. “Forschungsmittwoch”) co-organized by the SNSF Activating Fluxus and the Institute Materiality in Art and Culture, we were hosting Dr Natilee Harren, a scholar of contemporary art and theory.

Here is the topic of her presentation:

Following the Fluxus collective’s debut festival in late 1962, leading organizer George Maciunas wrote to Nam June Paik: “One can’t just perform the same single think [sic] over & over & over & over. We try to vary every piece in each performance.” Through their experimental performance and publishing practices, Fluxus artists tested how scores and other conceptual propositions could be interpreted and received in unforeseen ways. In a presentation that expands on arguments presented in her award-winning book Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network, Natilee Harren will consider the multitude of ways Fluxus artists and the inheritors of their legacy have activated and remade one another’s works, both in the moment of the collective’s emergence in the 1960s and in more recent decades as Fluxus works have found their way into museum collections, conservation labs, and the hands of the public

Dr. Natilee Harren is a scholar of modern and contemporary art history and theory, with particular focus on the conceptual and material entanglements of experimental, interdisciplinary practices after 1960. Her books include Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network (University of Chicago Press, 2020, winner of the Terra Foundation for American Art International Publication Grant) and Karl Haendel: Knight’s Heritage (LAXART, 2017). Harren’s essays and criticism have appeared in Art JournalArt Journal OpenCritique d’artEast of BorneoOnCurating, and Getty Research Journal, and she has been a regular contributor to Artforum since 2009. She is a Senior Fellow of the Mellon–Rare Book School Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography and serves on the executive board of the Society of Contemporary Art Historians, an affiliate society of the College Art Association. Harren’s current research projects include a study of the drawings of Walter De Maria and their relation to experimental performance, sculpture, and conceptual art of the sixties, and a media-rich digital publication—forthcoming from the Getty Research Institute and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities—that surveys and theorizes a range of twentieth-century experimental notations from the fields of visual art, music, performance, poetry, and dance. Harren currently serves as Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Houston School of Art.

Featured photo: Fluxus members performing George Brecht’s DripMusic (Drip Event), conducted by George Maciunas, Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, February 1963. Source:  Harren, N. (2020). Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network. The University of Chicago Press. p.3.


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