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date: 16 October 2019

Maciunas, George [Yurgis]locked

  • David W. Bernstein

Extract

[Yurgis]

(b 1931; d Boston, May 9, 1978). Lithuanian-American architect. In 1947 he emigrated from Lithuania to New York, where he studied architecture at Cooper Union. He opened the AG Gallery at 925 Madison Avenue in 1960 with fellow Lithuanian Almus Salcius. After meeting La Monte Young, he agreed to let Young and Jackson Mac Low produce a series of concerts at the gallery featuring musicians, artists and poets active in the New York avant garde. It was largely through his exposure to Young and his circle that Maciunas became acquainted with radical art.

In 1961, Maciunas moved to Wiesbaden where, in the following year, he founded the Fluxus movement. In a lecture entitled ‘Neo-Dada in Music, Theater, Poetry and Art’ Maciunas declared himself a ‘concrete artist’ who preferred noise to so-called musical sounds. His Carpenter’s Piano Piece for Nam June Paik no.13, in which the performer nails down the keys of a piano, demonstrates the iconoclastic nature of his work. Maciunas believed in art’s potential to transform society and adamantly objected to its institutionalization. His activities outside of the creative arts included an urban redevelopment project in lower-Manhattan that contributed to the growth of the SoHo art community....

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