George Maciunas  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
George Maciunas (November 8, 1931May 9, 1978) was a Lithuanian artist who was a founding member of the Fluxus, an international community of artists, architects, composers, and designers. Maciunas is generally credited with having invented the name "Fluxus."

George Maciunas (Template:Lang-lt, pronounced machunas) was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, to a Lithuanian father and Russian mother. As a young man, he moved to the United States where he studied architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. Later, he moved to Germany to escape his creditors. It was in Germany at a 1962 festival in Wiesbaden that Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Emmett Williams, Alison Knowles, and Ben Patterson staged the first Fluxus festival.

His life-long interest in diagrams made him chart the political, cultural and social history as well as art history and the chronology of Fluxus.

Maciunas developed several loft buildings in SoHo New York and a farm in Great Barrington, Massachusetts as artist housing projects. Maciunas pioneered SoHo as a haven for artists by converting tumbledown buildings into lofts and living space. His real estate ventures were usually several steps ahead of the law and in 1975 he was seriously injured in an assault arranged by an unpaid contractor related to the mob. The attack left Maciunas blind in one eye. After suffering from cancer, he died in a hospital in Boston, USA. Three months before his death, he married one of his tenants, Billie Hutching. Their wedding was a performance piece called "The Fluxwedding." The bride and groom traded clothing.

He was close to fellow artists Jonas Mekas, La Monte Young, Nam June Paik, and Yoko Ono, and did much to advance their careers.

An oratorio loosely based on Maciunas and titled Machunas premiered in August 2005 in the St. Christopher Summer Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania. Machunas was conceived by artist Lucio Pozzi, with music by Frank J. Oteri. Several of Maciunas' friends and colleagues protested the fact that the libretto was mistaken by many as a biography.


  • Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt, Maciunas' Learning Machines. From Art History to a Chronology of Fluxus (Vice Versa, 2003, ISBN 3-932809-39-4)

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