Press Release

Anthology of the works of Al Hansen

Presentation of the monograph:

Curated by Claudia Zanfi

The Studio Lattuada Gallery of Milan is pleased to announce that on Thursday 6th February 2003 at 7pm, the first monographic exhibition and the first book published in Italy dedicated to one of the main exponents of the Fluxus group will be presented. Al Hansen is recognised as being among the founders of the so-called “Fluxus Happenings”, which originated in New York towards the end of the fifties. A student of John Cage, purveyor of nonsense à la Marcel Duchamp and a man of Dadaist spirit, Al Hansen is a key figure in the avant-garde art scene of the last 40 years.
The exhibition is structured on various levels. A wide selection of his works: from the famous Hershey bar chocolate wrapper collages (dating back to the early sixties), to the renown Venuses created using a vast range of different materials – cigarette butts, cardboard, rope, film, tin cans, various objects (leftovers from his performances) – produced from the 1970s right up until his untimely decease in 1995, to the more recent cartoon-strip icons dedicated to his closest avant-garde companions of the time. The exhibition also features archive photographic material and a series of video recordings showing his performances.
Along with the exhibition, there will also be a monograph published in both Italian and English including almost all of the works on show. The book is aimed at being not so much an exhibition catalogue, but rather a useful tool for study and reflection on the works of this important artist. Apart from a number of unpublished texts by the artist himself, the book also contains many contributions written especially for the occasion by Eric Andersen, Alison Knowles, Geoffry Hendricks, Ann Noel, Philip Corner, Francesco Conz, Ben Vautier, Sur Rodney, Bibbe Hansen and Hans Hermann. Hermann, considered the closest follower of Al Hansen’s “events”, will give a performance in honour of the artist at the preview of the book, planned for Friday 24th January 2003 at 5pm at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, during the “Arte Fiera” event.

This initiative is curated by Claudia Zanfi in collaboration with the Fondazione Morra of Naples. The event is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Fluxus group, which took place in Wiesbaden in winter 1962.

Al Hansen was born in Queens, New York, in 1927. His artistic training started in the fifties after his return from the war, attending the “Arts Student League” in Greenwich Village and the “Pratt Institute” for graphic arts. A key moment was to be his meeting John Cage during the experimental music course he followed at the “New School for Social Research” in the middle of the 1950s. Here, Al Hansen also got to know and love avant-garde cinema, as well as the non-conventional use of various musical instruments. Together with Dick Higgins and George Brecht, he founded the “New York Audiovisual Group”, creating “events” which took place in unusual settings around Manhattan. He got to know Warhol, Oldenburg, Lichtenstein, Ginsberg, Kaprow and all the artists in the Fluxus field. He then started travelling, and moved to Germany, (Cologne) where he founded the Ultimate Academy. In his latter years, he spent a great deal of time in Italy, especially in Naples. He died in 1995.
His exhibitions date back to the sixties in “off” spaces, reflecting his lifelong refusal to be drawn into commercial situations. Apart from his participation in various Fluxus festivals, his main exhibitions include:
1964 Judson Gallery, New York; 1970 Galerie Block, Berlin; 1979 Henie Museum, Oslo; Royal Academy of Art, Copenhagen; 1986 "In Search of the Goddess", Gracie Mansion Gallery, NYC; 1988 "Collagen,Objekte,Fingerbilder." Galerie Klewan, Munich; 1990 "Mama Vesuvia Mia" Studio Morra, Napoli; 1992 Lisi Hamerle Gallery, Bregenz; 1994 Troy Gallery Los Angeles; “Vota arte” Lattuda Studio, Milano; 1995 “Al Hansen. An Introspective” Kölnisches Stadt Museum, Cologne.

Curated by Claudia Zanfi

Studio Lattuada
via Borgonuovo, Milano
Info: 0039-02-29000071
Inauguration: 6 february 2003, h.19

Preview of monograph:
Friday 24th January 2003, 5pm
at the Galleria D’Arte Moderna of Bologna
Piazza Costituzione, 3
40128 Bologna
info: +39 051 502 859