Open Studios - Fluxus thrives in South City
By David Bonetti
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Ordinarily I don’t like Open Studio events. There is too much amateurish work that takes too much time to weed through. I prefer to let galleries and museums do the vetting for me. But I was intrigued by my telephone conversation with St. Louis Fluxus artist Keith Buchholz, so Saturday afternoon, after my weekly pilgrimage to the Mushroom Man and the Kruse and Scharf farm stands at the Soulard Market, I headed south into a part of the city where I’d never ventured before. Good reason, you have to know where you’re going - the Interstate highway system cut ruthlessly through the neighborhood leaving little disconnected shards in its wake.
Somewhere down there, Buchholz maintains a studio in a relic from another age - a circa 1810 farmhouse. He’s furnished it in period Americana, and it’s a strange set for a Fluxus museum, which is, in effect, what Buchholz has created. Fluxus is a post-World War II international phenomenon, a sort of anti-movement that worked between the various media, spawning the term “intermedia.” Under its broad umbrella artists created works of an ephemeral nature, often mailing their products to other Fluxartists and their fans. Artists as major and different as Joseph Beuys, Yoko, Ono, John Cage and Nam June Paik were part of it from time to time.
But back to the Americana - it might not be so totally incongruous. George Macunias, the Pope, duce and duenna of the loose group, favored Victorian typography, and there was something old-fashioned about many Fluxevents that fed the hippie movement that came son after it.
Buchholz favors the mail art wing of Fluxus, and his studio houses numberless folders of art work mailed to him from all over the world by Fluxartists and their fellow travelers. Yoko Ono mailed him a special encouragement for the weekend opening. Buchholz’s own work - tasty prints of collages featuring well formed male chests, among them - are hung here and there. On one table is a small artist book he made recently of a photograph of the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Another copy of it is currently on view at the Venice Biennale. Buchholz said that he has two works in the current biennale, which must put him in a category of one among contemporary St. Louis artists."...