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The artist Ben Vautier, known simply as ‘Ben’ has a fascinating, eclectic exhibition of his life’s work here at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon. This special exhibition on 3 floors runs from March 3rd to July 11th 2010.
It is an impressive collection of his text-based paintings, dadaist sculptures and large installations.
Well worth a visit!
Situated within Lyon’s Cité Internationale, by the banks of the Rhone and near the park Tete d’Or, the Musée d’Art Contemporain is at the heart of a scenic and pleasant area within the boundaries of France’s remarkable second city.
In 1984, when the museum was located within the Musée des Beaux Arts de Lyon, a particular interest in the production of art works began.
These works, new project for the artist or continuation of an earlier concept, were produced in the museum, for the museum, in direct collaboration with the artist and became a part of the museum’s collection.
This gave an opportunity to artists to experiment with form, idea and dimension, and to create work in harmony with the space itself.
The museum’s politics of production imposed upon the architect to create an interieur space which could be entirely modified, in order to cater for the demands of the numerous artists using the space as well as the diverse exhibition spaces designed by the curators.
Ben Vautier (born on July 18, 1935 in Naples, Italy), also known simply as Ben, is a French artist.
Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973.
He discovered Yves Klein and the Nouveau Réalisme in the 1950s, but he became quickly interested in the French dada artist Marcel Duchamp, the music of John Cage and joined the Fluxus artistic movement in the 1960s.
In 1959, Vautier founded the journal Ben Dieu. In 1960, he had his first one-man show, Rien et tout in Laboratoire 32.
He is also active in Mail-Art and is mostly known for his text-based paintings; an example of the latter is his work “L’art est inutile. Rentrez chez vous” (Art is Useless, Go Home).
He has long defended the rights of minorities in all countries, and he has been influenced by the theories of François Fontan about ethnism. For example, he has defended the Occitan language (south of France), which is on the verge of extinction because speakers are shifting to French.
Anti-art is a loosely-used term applied to an array of concepts and attitudes that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general.
Anti-art tends to conduct this questioning and rejection from the vantage point of art. The term is associated with the Dada movement and is generally accepted as attributable to Marcel Duchamp pre-World War I.
Fluxus Movement 1960-1965
The Fluxus movement emerged in New York in the 60’s, moving to Europe, and eventually to Japan.
The movement encompassed a new aesthetic that had already appeared on three continents. That aesthetic encompasses a reductive gesturality, part Dada, part Bauhaus and part Zen, and presumes that all media and all artistic disciplines are fair game for combination and fusion. Fluxus presaged avant-garde developments over the last 40 years.
Fluxus objects and performances are characterized by minimalist but often expansive gestures based in scientific, philosophical, sociological, or other extra-artistic ideas and leavened with burlesque.
Yoko Ono is the best-known individual associated with Fluxus, but many artists have associated themselves with Fluxus since its emergence. In the ’60s, when the Fluxus movement was most active, artists all over the globe worked in concert with a spontaneously generated but carefully maintained Fluxus network.
Since then, Fluxus has endured not so much as a movement but as a sensibility–a way of fusing certain radical social attitudes with ever–evolving aesthetic practices.
Initially received as little more than an international network of pranksters, the admittedly playful artists of Fluxus were, and remain, a network of radical visionaries who have sought to change political and social, as well as aesthetic, perception.