George Brecht

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George Brecht (born March 7, 1926 in New York City , † December 5, 2008 in Cologne ) was an American artist of the Fluxus movement.

life and work

George Brecht: Void Stone, Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck

Brecht was born as George MacDiarmid; Depending on the source, the year and month of birth are given differently. George Brecht was one of the early and most important players in Fluxus. From 1946 to 1950 he studied at the College of Pharmacy and Science in Philadelphia and worked as a chemist and engineer for companies in New York and New Jersey until 1965. In 1958/59 he attended John Cage's Experimental Composition course at the New School for Social Research in New York.

In 1959 he took part in the first Fluxus campaigns and organized the “Yam Festival” in New York together with Robert Watts in the early 1960s. In 1965 he moved to France, to the small town of Villefranche-sur-Mer near Nice , and joined the European Fluxus movement. There he ran the business “La cédille qui sourit” (The smiling cedilla; cédille denotes the accent under the C in French Ç) with Robert Filliou until 1968 . In 1966 both artists founded the "Non-École de Villefranche". From 1968 to 1969 he was a professor at the College of Art and Design in Leeds . Brecht primarily created so-called “ready mades” or “event objects”, works that are essentially based on found objects, e.g. B. a coat stand (Clothes Tree, 1962/1963), which consists of the stand, clothing and umbrellas. The intention is that such a work becomes an event for the viewer when confronted with the work.

In 1970 Brecht moved to Düsseldorf , 1972 to Cologne. Brecht was strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism . In addition to objects from the visual arts , his work also consists of films, books and compositions. George Brecht has not worked artistically since the 1980s.

He took part in Documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972 in the Individual Mythologies department , and was represented as an artist at Documenta 6 (1977) and Documenta 8 in 1987.

In 2006 George Brecht received the Berlin Art Prize ("Berlin Art Prize - Jubilee Foundation 1848/1948"). The award ceremony took place on March 18, 2006 in the Akademie der Künste in Berlin .

George Brecht died in December 2008 at the age of 82 in Cologne and was buried in the Melaten cemetery (hall 72a).

Exhibitions (selection)

Solo exhibitions

  • 1959: Towards Events , Reuben Gallery, New York
  • 1965: The Book of the Tumler on Fire; Pages from Chapter I , Fischbach Gallery, New York
  • 1967: Pages from Chapter II through VII , Galerie Schwarz, Milan
  • 1972: Galerie Daniel Templon , Paris
  • 1972: Boxes , Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne
  • 1976: Assemblages , Framart Studio, Naples
  • 2003: Edition Stella A., Berlin
  • 2004: Gagosian Gallery Heddon, London

Group exhibitions

  • 1984: from here , Düsseldorf
  • 2005–2006: Museum Ludwig , Cologne
  • 2006: Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona

Works (selection)

  • Opportunity - Imagery. Something Else Press , New York 1966. ( A Great Bear Pamphlet. No. 3). Printed on yellow paper. (Artist's book. Text from 1957 on chance in art). New edition: ubuclassics 2004 pdf 676k
  • The illusory world of the paradox (book)
  • Illiteracy (book)
  • Hsin Hsin Ming (composition)
  • Silent Music (language composition)
  • Notated on the way (language composition)
  • Motor Vehicle Sundown. 1960.
  • Water yam. 1963. (event scores)
  • A selection of 27 dreams. Autobiography. 1978.


  • Karin von Maur , Gudrun Inboden (arrangement): Painting and sculpture of the 20th century . State Gallery Stuttgart , 1982.
  • SD Sauerbier: Form is emptiness - emptiness is form. [About the work of George Brecht.] = Artist. Critical lexicon of contemporary art. Edition 21. Munich 1993, ISSN  0934-1730

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Fleurice Würz: "Fluxus Nice, 1963-1968", AQ-Verlag, Saarbrücken 2011, ISBN 978-3-922441-11-3 , pp. 70ff.
  2. ^ Frank Frangenberg: Obituary - Fluxus artist George Brecht is dead. In: Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger . December 5, 2008, accessed February 2, 2020 .
  3. George Brecht's tombstone., accessed on January 28, 2018 .