George Maciunas is a Lithuanian-born American artist best known as the founder and central organizer of the art collective Fluxus from 1962 until his untimely death in 1978. Fluxus was the most internationally diverse art group of the twentieth-century thanks to Maciunas’s tireless efforts to bring together innovative artists from the US, Western and Eastern Europe, and parts of Asia. While Fluxus has come to be understood as an artistic movement, Maciunas’s myriad projects and initiatives extended beyond the traditional bounds of art to encompass a more thoroughgoing socio-cultural investigation with propositions for creating a better world. For instance, he is considered by some to be the “father of SoHo” in New York City because he established there the first artists’ cooperatives—with affordable living and working spaces—in the late 1960s, when the area was a dilapidated post-industrial site.

Maciunas was at once a lifelong autodidact and a recipient of extensive formal training in architecture, graphic design, musicology, and art history. His belief in the importance of knowledge for all strongly influenced his work—from programs to revamp conventional pedagogy to history charts to small “Flux-boxes” produced as inexpensive “art-amusements” that combined fun with increased self-awareness for the viewer. The diversity of these pursuits is a testament to Maciunas’s creativity, curiosity, and conviction that art should be understood in more expansive and socially conscious terms. He believed in the early-twentieth-century avant-garde ideal of an art-life continuum, but also understood the changed historical context of his own day. This consciousness of history couple with difficult personal life experiences prevented Maciunas from being a romantic or a utopian. Instead, his character was a unique amalgam of apparent oppositions: idealism and pragmatism, vaudevillian sense of humor and disciplined work ethic, great generosity and extreme thrift. His complex approach to art and society makes him one of the most important artists of the post World War II period, an artist whose tremendous contributions continue to have influence and potential.

Director of the Stendhal Gallery, Harry Stendhal, created the non-profit George Maciunas Foundation in 2009 with the three overarching objectives of studying, extending, and preserving the work and legacy of Maciunas. The Foundation is committed to fostering Fluxus scholarship, providing artists grants, putting Maciunas’s ideas into practical application through new projects in contemporary society, and protecting his name in a manner respectful of his original mission. The Foundation aims to facilitate greater access to information and materials about Maciunas while ensuring intellectual property and copyright protection. The George Maciunas Foundation pledges to work to pay tribute to and revitalize the legacy of a man who worked with great principle and dedication to help construct a more equitable and creative way of life for all.