Alongside the galleries for temporary exhibitions, the upper floor of the CAC houses the institution’s only permanent display: part of Gilbert and Lila Silverman’s famous collection. The collection is dedicated to the Fluxus art movement, which proved crucial to the radical shift in the understanding of art in the Western world in the sixties. Fluxus manifestos, numerous artworks and instructions on how to make them circulated intensely for many years among artists in the United States, Europe and Japan, in a network coordinated largely by the founder of the movement, architect and designer George Maciunas (Jurgis Mačiūnas), a Lithuanian émigré. Having originated in New York, the movement was directed against the rigid, elitist and ‘overly self-important’ artistic system of art schools, museums and concerts of “serious” music, which refused any kind of levity, spontaneity and play.
Opened in 1997, the CAC’s Fluxus Cabinet showcases scores for the famous Fluxus events and other documents, photographs from Fluxus festivals in Nice, Wuppertal and New York, Fluxus newspapers, publications and conceptual sets of assorted objects, as well as a couple of manifestos written and designed by Maciunas. The exhibition includes works by some of the most important members of the Fluxus movement, such as Maciunas, George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Alison Knowles, Shigeko Kubota, Ben Vautier, Mieko Shiomi, Henry Flynt, La Monte Young, Yoko Ono, Ay-O and others. The selection of almost a hundred works of Fluxus was compiled by Jon Hendricks, the curator of the collection and one of the most influential originators of the history of this art movement.