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Fluxus Means Change: Jean Brown’s Avant-Garde Archive

Marcia Reed

An exploration of the radical artists who transformed the ways art is conceived, exhibited, and collected, through the Dada, Surrealist, and Fluxus collections of Jean and Leonard Brown.

Throughout the 1960s, Jean and Leonard Brown used their radical tastes, prescient instincts, and friendships with artists to assemble an extensive archive of Dada and Surrealist publications and prints—including works by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Tristan Tzara. After Leonard’s death in 1970, Jean’s attention turned to Fluxus and other contemporary genres. Jean also established a site of alternative art production at her Shaker Seed House in Tyringham, Massachusetts, where she invited artists to engage with her collections.

Fluxus works embraced the social and political critiques of earlier avant-garde artists and questioned the authority of the increasingly powerful contemporary art world of critics, collectors, curators, and gallerists. This examination of artists and their antiestablishment demands for change shows how their art was created, performed, exhibited, and collected in new ways that intentionally challenged traditional modes. By providing an expanded understanding of avant-garde and Fluxus artists through the lens of the Jean Brown Archive at the Getty Research Institute, this volume demonstrates the profound influence these artists had on contemporary art.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center on view September 14, 2021, through January 2, 2022.

Marcia Reed is the former chief curator and associate director for special collections and exhibitions at the Getty Research Institute.

“It is in fact as much an atmospheric biography of Jean Brown and her milieu as it is a history of Fluxus, and none the worse for that.”
—David Briers, Art Monthly

“Engrossing tome.”

144 pages
10 x 10 inches
103 color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-662-1

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute