Fluxus is an international avant-garde group or collective that was founded and flourished in the1960s but still continues today

  • Joseph Beuys, 'Felt Action' 1963
    Joseph Beuys
    Felt Action 1963
    Braunkreuz oil on paper with felt
    support: 647 x 434 mm
    Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008© DACS, 2009

The group was founded and named in 1960 by the Lithuanian/American artist George Maciunas; originally for an eponymous magazine featuring the work of a group of artists and composers centred around John Cage. The Latin name means flowing. In English a flux is a flowing out. Maciunas said that the purpose of Fluxus was to ‘promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, promote living art, anti-art’. This has strong echoes of dada with which Fluxus had much in common.

The group came together on the continent, first in Germany where Maciunas worked for the US Army. Fluxus subsequently staged a series of festivals in Paris,Copenhagen, Amsterdam, London and New York at which activities included concerts of avant-garde music and performances often spilling out into the street.

Almost every avant-garde artist of the time took part in Fluxus, such as Joseph Beuys, Dick Higgins, Alice Hutchins, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ben Vautier, Robert Watts, Benjamin Patterson and Emmett Williams.

Fluxus played an important part in the opening up of definitions of what art can be that led to the intense and fruitful pluralism seen in art since the 1960s (see e.g. conceptual art, performance art, film & video art, postmodernism).

Its heyday was the 1960s but it still continues.