Dick Higgins, Europe - Blue (War), 1988, Silkscreen on cloth, 176 × 232 cm, Edition of 75
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 176 × 232 cm
    (69 ¼ × 91 ⅜ inches)
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  • Dick Higgins was an influential artist, poet, editor, and—more than anything else—a prolific theorist of experimental arts. His relentless inquisitiveness and nurtured enthusiasm made him one of the most distinctive personalities of the avant-garde movements. He studied at Yale and then Columbia University, where he earned his BA in English (1960), and later received his MA in English Literature from New York University (1977). He also attended the Manhattan School of Printing, followed by studies at The New School in New York, where, like many of his contemporaries, he was mentored by John Cage and influenced by Dada. Higgins was an instigator of Happenings and a co-founder of Fluxus, together with George Maciunas, George Brecht, Jackson Mac Low, and his wife Allison Knowles. Among his musical experiments, the Danger Music scores series investigates an extreme concept of music which, by its harsh expression, holds potential danger for both the performer and the audience. His Twelve Metadramas (1987), composed of minimal emotional and narrative statements, challenges the pragmatism of traditional scores and contributes as humorous experimentation in the fields of literature and performance. In 1963, Higgins founded Something Else Press, a publishing house responsible for promoting and disseminating the works of highly acclaimed artists and writers of the twentieth century, including Gertrude Stein, Ray Johnson, and Dieter Roth. With the first issue of the Something Else Press Newsletter in 1965, Higgins coined the term “intermedia” as a possibility of naming artistic approaches that did not limit their field of operation to a question of artistic media but rather tended to elude established norms and categories. With the short and affordable publication series A Great Bear Pamphlet, designed for wide circulation, he promoted the writings of many significant Fluxus artists. Higgins also made remarkable contributions to educational institutions as a faculty member of the California Institute of Arts in Valencia and a panel member of the New York State Council on the Arts. He received a DAAD scholarship for a sojourn in Berlin (1981–82) and a Pollock-Krasner grant (1993). A substantial retrospective was held at the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter (1995) in Høvikodden, Norway. His works can be found in numerous private and public collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Vienna.

Artworks (13)