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Öyvind Fahlström

  • Exhibition

  • June 16, 2001 - November 1, 2001
  • Galleries

Click here to order an exhibition catalogue.

MASS MoCA was the only U.S. venue for a retrospective of the influential artist, Öyvind Fahlström (1928-1976). This exhibition, organized by Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), opened at that museum in October 2000 to rave reviews throughout the international critical community.

Because of his multiple careers and nationalities, and his work in many media, Fahlström’s oeuvre has been considered under many rubrics — pop, fluxus, concrete poetry, and political activism, to name a few — which has prevented an understanding of his career as a whole. This much-needed retrospective was accompanied by the definitive catalogue of his work, co-published by MASS MoCA.

Recognized as a pioneer of multimedia interactive art, Fahlström created art which was an intrinsic part of his struggle for social justice and anti-war activism. As a political activist in the 1960s and 1970s, he viewed himself as a provocateur. He also covered a vast territory of media, creating a new form of painting called “variable painting,” which incorporated movable magnets and hand-painted vinyl which could be manipulated by their owners. These works — which Fahlström also referred to as “game paintings,” presaged by 20 years the current enthusiasm for interactivity in the art world. He also produced works in film, performance, installation, sculpture, print, and painting.

Meatball Curtain (for R. Crumb), 1969

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