George Brecht

George BRECHT | Works and biography



George Brecht was an American artist, writer and composer.
The artist was one of the leading exponents of minimalism and among the determining personalities of the original group of Fluxus.

Born in Blomkest in Minnesota in the United States on March 7, 1924. After graduating in chemistry in 1950, George Brecht began working as a researcher in the laboratories of some important pharmaceutical industries in New York and New Jersey, developing some important patents that collect fairly well commercial successes.

After working as a chemist until 1965, Brecht began studying self-taught painting, under the influence of Jackson Pollock andAbstract expressionism. But the personality that is of greatest inspiration for Brecht is that of John Cage. The American chemist artist begins to attend his experimental music courses held at the New School for Social Researches and it is there that he finds his first artistic results and successes. Thanks to Cage's proximity, in fact, Brecht comes into contact with the other founders of Fluxus, an admittedly neo-Dadaist group founded in the early 1960s. .

Fluxus is a group that brings together a number of avant-garde artists and intellectuals who use art in all its forms as a practice of criticism of the system. The group was born around the figure of George Maciunas, another important character for Brecht's artistic training. When George Maciunas founded Fluxus in 1961, Brecht adhered to it with conviction, because he was attracted by the logic of the fusion of the various expressive modes. Furthermore, the movement focuses on the concepts of causality, randomness and probability, so dear to George Brecht thanks also to his chemistry studies.

From this period are the Events, which George Brecht defines as "short and elementary pieces of theater characterized by the alogical quality of happenings", which involve all the senses from sight to touch, from hearing to body movement to give the spectator a unique involvement.
The events they are events, realized entities that have a life of their own. In its "events" there are objects, space, time and the possibility of continuous changes, with movements of immobile objects.
The form is sometimes the simple list of instructions written like the event-cards which will be an expression of Brecht's experimentation with the word.

In May 1963 George Brecht, in collaboration with Robert Watts organizes a large demonstration in the United States, lo Yam Festival and at the same time publishes the magazine IN TRE, the title of which derives from a luminous sign with some burnt out letters that Brecht had by chance observed.

When Manciunas returned from Europe in 1963, he began to collaborate closely with Brecht and together they published for the Fluxus editions Water Yam which consists of a box containing a series of small scores of Events.

The following year George Brecht left the United States to move to Europe in Villefrance-sur-Mer (French Riviera). Here he opens a small and particular shop together with the poet Robert Filliou. The shop is called "The Cedilla that Smiles"and wants to be a small cultural center where works of art, toys, costume jewelery, books are sold. For lack of funds, the shop in 1968: Brecht moved first to England, then in 1972 to Germany in Dusseldorf, finally to Cologne where he will remain for the rest of his life.

George Brecht died in Cologne in 2008