Featuring art from three major 20-century movements – Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown’s Avant-Garde archive – is now on view at the Getty Research Institute, at the Getty Museum. (The one on the hill!)
In 1953, Sydney Janus re-introduced Dada to mid-century artists such as Jasper Johns, and, as a response, we saw a neo-Dada art movement emerge.
Jean Brown, along with her husband Leonard Brown, was the first serious collector of some of these works, which are now on view through January 2, 2022. Here we can see how one couple’s collecting strategies bridged Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus, and beyond.
Photo above: Your Name Spelled with Objects, for Jeanette Brown, 1972. George Maciunas (American, b. Lithuania, 1931–1978) Plastic box containing objects. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (890164) © 2021 Estate of George Maciunas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
While a lot of surreal and Dada art was intended to be ephemeral in nature, it is the materiality of this modest collection that begs for it to be viewed in person, in order to appreciate it in a new light.
The exhibition’s curator, Marcia Reed, explained how Jean and Leonard Brown enjoyed interacting with the Dadaists. Reed has done an exceptional job of tracing the path of their collection, charting their continual curiosity for art, particularly how art works circulated and could be collected.
As Reed described, during the exhibition’s opening, “Jean was not only a collector who pleased herself,” but also factored in research value.
What’s remarkable about the Fluxus exhibition is its focus on the vintage character of this unique collection, and – more significantly – how collectors are important pipelines between the artists and the public, how collectors themselves make history with their selection process.
Residing in the rooms of the Getty Research Institute, the show is spacious (thanks to the necessity of social distancing) and the labels are bilingual (in English and Spanish). The simplicity of the descriptions makes for “less chatter,” Reed adds, claiming “the works really speak for themselves.”
Marcia Reed is chief curator and associate director at the Getty Research Institute. A specialist in rare books and prints, her recent publications include Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown’s Avant-Garde Archive (2020) and Artists and Their Books/Books and Their Artists (2018, with Glenn Phillips).
From the press release:
Jean Brown’s collection of Dada, Surrealist, and Fluxus artworks was one of the first comprehensive collections of 20th-century art at the Getty Research Institute. From Marcel Duchamp and George Maciunas to the international network of artists with whom Brown corresponded, this exhibition reveals her intuitive and innovative collecting strategies. It explores the relationships she saw among the works, connecting earlier avant-garde art to Fluxus, artists’ books, mail art, and multiples.
This exhibition is presented in English and Spanish. It is one of a series that will test ways to make the presentations in our galleries more welcoming and accessible.
Esta exhibición se presenta en inglés y en español. Es parte de una serie de exhibiciones bilingües que pondrá a prueba varias formas de hacer el contenido que presentamos en nuestras galerías más acogedor y accesible.
Fluxus Means Change
Getty Research Institute
The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center
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