November 17th, 2011 · Alexander Cavaluzzo

"Our real art is our interaction with the world”

Bibbe Hansen on Fluxus pioneer Al Hansen

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To kick off Performa’s "52 Hours of Fluxus" this past weekend, performance artist Bibbe Hansen gave a lecture and performance on her father, Fluxus artist Al Hansen. Hosted in the intimate Golden Gallery on Elizabeth Street, Hansen began her presentation by giving an overview of Al Hansen’s life and work, relaying his time as a paratrooper in World War II, his struggles with the contemporary art scene, the creation of his Ultimate Academy and his experience in the liberating art movement of Fluxus.

 

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Bibbe and Al Hansen.
 
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Bibbe and Al Hansen.

Hansen invited the audience to re-perform an early work Al had created during his time in John Cage’s class at the New School entitled Alice Denham in 48 Seconds, wherein each letter of Denham’s name was assigned a number value, which in turn represented a composition instructing the performer to the length and frequency of corresponding sounds, created here with toys Hansen handed out to audience members. 

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Al Hansen, John Cage Word Opera. 1972 - 76.

Hansen’s lecture not only provided a complete profile of her father, but also gave insight to her life growing up surrounded by art, whether it was participating in her father’s happenings or accidentally eating a can of Campbell’s soup signed by Andy Warhol. 

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Andy Warhol and Bibbe Hansen by Bob Adelman
 
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Bibbe Hansen screen test

Concluding her presentation, Hansen re-performed “Elegy for the Fluxus Dead”, reciting the names of artists from the movement as her father’s original performance was projected behind her. Mimicking Al’s moves, she proceeded to wrap masking tape around her head as “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love with You” by UB40 played in the background.  

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Al Hansen with John Lennon and Andy Warhol
 
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Al and Bibbe Hansen
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Edie Sedgwick and Bibbe Hansen

After the performance, Bibbe observed “our real art is our interaction with the world,” and believed that the freedom inherent in Fluxus has the potential to liberate us from the ills of the world. Hansen’s husband, Sean Carrillo, stated, “Fluxus is more than George Maciunas,” reflecting on the resurgence and recent focus on the movement and how Performa’s Fluxus weekend and the exhibit Fluxus and Essential Questions of Life at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery act to broaden the exposure and history of the artistic movement.

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Al Hansen, Bambolina 1994.

End of article