Out of the Box

Olivier Babin & Harold Ancart, Peter Coffin, Amy Granat, Heather Guertin, Matt Keegan, George Maciunas, Alexandre Singh

Curated by Liutauras Psibilskis

Emily Harvey Foundation
537 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012

September 15–30

The point of departure for the exhibition is a box that George Maciunas left at his death to Jonas Mekas. Its uncatalogued contents include numerous slides that document works by Maciunas, many of which have never been exhibited: his cross-dressing performances at private parties; photographs of Ginger Island in the Caribbean, which the artist hoped to buy and develop into a Fluxus colony; and Twelve Big Names, 1973, a sequence of just that (“YOKO ONO” and “ANDY WARHOL,” among them).

Joining Maciunas are a group of young New York–based artists: Olivier Babin & Harold Ancart, Peter Coffin, Amy Granat, Heather Guertin, Matt Keegan, and Alexandre Singh. Their works, some created specially for this show, take up the leads found in Maciunas’s box, extending the initial concepts or forming parallel thoughts.

Responding directly to the box’s contents, Babin and Ancart started a foundation to raise twenty million dollars for the purchase of Ginger Island, which is still up for sale, while Alexandre Singh has rewritten Robert Watts’s Yam Lecture, first presented at the Fluxus-related Yam Festival in 1962–63; a projection by Peter Coffin pairs Maciunas’s party pictures with stage-lighting gels. In a similar spirit, Amy Granat and Matt Keegan record intimate portraits of friends, in the style of vintage Super-8, and Heather Guertin treats paintings as objects, relating to the exhibition’s overall installation.

The gallery space becomes a bigger box containing both the older and newer work—as well as Maciunas’s original box, which is presented not as an archival, scholarly object but as a container of suggestions to be activated in the here and now.

Production: Peter Staples