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International Curator Explores Radical Music

International Curator Explores Radical Music At City Gallery

The provocative, experimental and sometimes downright odd music of the ‘Fluxus’ art movement will be explored by internationally respected curator René Block next week.

Mr Block is perhaps best known in New Zealand as the curator of Toi Toi Toi - Three Generations of New Zealand Artists (Auckland Art Gallery, 1999). He will present a lecture and video presentation called Fluxus Music – The Everyday Event at the City Cinema, on Friday 1 December, at 6pm. The lecture is presented in association with the Goethe-Institut Wellington.

“We are honoured to welcome René Block to Wellington,” says Paula Savage, director of City Gallery Wellington. “This will be a chance for people to learn more about the experimental music that was part of Fluxus.”

Fluxus emerged in Europe and New York in the 1950s and 60s, and has been described as a “multidimensional web of meetings, presentations, ideas and objects”. Key figures were John Cage, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik. Writer Peter Frank says the often playful Fluxus artists engaged in an aesthetic that encompassed “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 artists] remain a network of radical visionaries who have sought to change political and social, as well as aesthetic perception.”

Since 1997, Mr Block has been the director of the Kunsthalle Museum Fridericianum in Kassel. His tour to New Zealand coincides with the Fluxus in Germany 1962 – 1994 exhibition at the Govett Brewster Gallery. The lecture runs approximately 90 minutes. Entry will be on a ‘first come, first admitted’ basis.


René Block
b. 1942 near Düsseldorf

Opened a gallery in Berlin in 1964 at the age of 22. First exhibitions and performances were arranged by then young artists such as Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Wolf Vostell, Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik.

As Germany’s youngest gallery owner he was admitted in 1967 to the Association of Progressive German Art Dealers, which organised the first art fairs in Cologne.

In 1974 he was awarded the art prize of the German Critics Association for his 10 year gallery program in Berlin. In the same year he opened an exhibition space in New York with I like America and America likes me by Joseph Beuys.

At the same time, Block started his work as an independent curator. He curated Downtown Manhatten: SoHo, 1976, and Für Augen und Ohren, 1980, for the Berlin Festival and the Akademie der Künste Berlin as well as Art Allemagne Aujourd’hui for the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1981.

In 1982 Block started his work for the Berlin Artists Residence Program of the DAAD. Until 1992 he was in charge of the visual arts and composers and organised many exhibitions and concerts (ie. the Festival of Music Inventionen).

From 1993 until 1995 he determined the programme of the exhibition service at the Institute of Foreign Relations (IFA), which is responsible for the presentation of German Art abroad.

The most important exhibitions organised by Block in recent years were:

1990 The Readymade Boomerang, 8 Biennial of Sydney
1991 Medienkunst, National Gallery, Seoul
1992 Mit dem Kopf durch die Wand, Statens Museum, Copenhagen
1993 Über Malerei, an exhibition for the 300th anniversary of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna
1995 Orientation, 4. Istanbul Biennale
1997 Pro Lidice, Museum of Fine Arts, Prague
1998 Echolot, Museum of Fridericianum

In 1994 he received the Danish ‘Arthur Kopcke prize’ in Copenhagen (after Laurence Weiner [1991], Per Kirkeby [1992] and Ilya Kabakov [1993]).

Since July 1997 René Block has been the director of the Kunsthalle Museum Fridericianum in Kassel.

Information kindly supplied by the Goethe-Institut Wellington.

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