by Alison Knowles: A Retrospective (1960–2022) is the first comprehensive exhibition of the work of American artist Alison Knowles, whose oeuvre spans more than sixty years. While Knowles became known as the only female cofounder of Fluxus, an avant-garde group founded in 1962, the goal of this exhibition is to focus on her extraordinary individual artistic production.
This project is informed by my 30+ years of academic and curatorial work on Fluxus in general, and more specifically, by my engagement with Alison’s artistic production and pedagogy that I wrote about in a chapter in my doctoral dissertation.
Bringing together more than two hundred objects, by Alison Knowles: A Retrospective (1960-2022) includes the artist’s groundbreaking experiments in painting and mixed-media prints, event scores and performance, sculpture and installation, sound work and artist’s books. Her quotidian poetic works emanate from her engagement with ordinary materials, found objects, and everyday life. Knowles combines diverse materials and uses transformative processes, constantly iterating existing forms to develop new areas of investigation. Knowles’s practice embodies the “intermedial approach,” a term coined in 1966 by Fluxus cofounder Dick Higgins, “to emphasize the dialectic between the media.”
The first gallery is organized chronologically, from 1960 to the early 1970s, the pivotal years in which Knowles developed her intermedia practice, which she continues to engage in today. The second gallery presents her works according to media and materials, as well as subjects and themes, rather than chronologically. Specific sections are devoted to Knowles’s collaborative exhibitions and events since 2000, which include the most recent reactivations of her intermedia works.