Emmett Williams, Fluxus Ist, 1988, Silkscreen on canvas, 141 × 78 cm, Edition of 30 plus III AP
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
1 / 1
  • Silkscreen on canvas
  • 141 × 78 cm
    (55 ½ × 30 ¾ inches)
  • Inquire
  • Emmett Williams was an American poet and performer of experimental poetry. After graduating from Kenyon College in Ohio in 1949, he moved to Europe, studying and working in France, Germany, and Switzerland. During these years, as a member of the Darmstadt Circle, he collaborated with numerous artists, including Daniel Spoerri and Claus Bremer. In 1962, he took part in the “Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik” in Wiesbaden and, since then, regularly participated in Fluxus concerts and events, becoming the movement’s European coordinator. The later unconventional autobiography My Life in Flux – and Vice Versa (Stuttgart: Edition Hansjörg Mayer, 1991) brings together documents and anecdotes from Williams’s journey between the United States, Europe, and Asia, providing precise and unique documentation of his participation in the Fluxus movement. Returning to the United States in 1966, he became editor-in-chief of Something Else Press until 1970, collaborating on some of the publishing house’s most essential works, including Claes Oldenburg’s Store Days (1961), and editing the outstanding Anthology of Concrete Poetry (1967). Williams was one of the most brilliant protagonists of experimental poetry, often using humor and mock seriousness with clever playfulness. His most influential publications include 13 Variations on 6 Words of Gertrude Stein (1965) and sweethearts (1967), a long, intimate concrete poem cycle. In 1982, while living in Berlin with his wife and great supporter Ann Nöel, Williams had an exhibition at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, titled Schemes and Variations, which was attended by Francesco Conz and members of Fluxus. The relationship of sincere friendship and mutual esteem between Williams and Conz is corroborated by the numerous photographs, editions, and unique works produced in Asolo and Verona over the course of almost thirty years of collaboration. In 1980, Williams was an artist in residence of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program; and in 1996, he was honored for his life’s work with the Hannah Höch Prize. Williams taught at numerous universities, including the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, and the Berlin University of the Arts (HdK). His works have been exhibited in numerous international museums, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1983), the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin (1996), and the Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund (2005). Emmett Williams’s archive is currently part of the Getty Research Institute.

Artworks (28)