Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Jock Reynolds | Potentially Dangerous Electrical Household Appliance

Jock Reynolds
Potentially Dangerous Electrical Household Appliance
New York City, USA: Fluxus, 1969
9 x 12 x 1.6 cm.
Edition size unknown

Jock Reynolds joined the inaugural class at the University of California Santa Cruz in the mid-1960s, planning to study marine biology. Artist Gurdon Woods left his position at the San Francisco Art Institute to develop the school’s arts curriculum, and encouraged Reynolds to pursue visual studies. 
There he encountered artists such as Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko, and Robert Watts. Soon after, Woods applied to the Carnegie Foundation and received a large grant, allowing him to bring in visiting artists such as John Cage, Merce Cunningham, George Segal, Allan Kaprow, Dan Flavin, James Lee Byars and George Maciunas. 

"Some of these visiting artists would come for a few days to do a performance or to show films by the likes of Andy Warhol,” Reynolds recounted many years later. "Other artists stayed longer to conduct mini-seminars in which they shared their work and provided critiques to the work we students were making both individually and as a creative collective. We staged a number of Fluxus-like performances, including a hilarious Fluxus parade on the campus of U.C. San Diego in the last semester of our work with Watts." 

"I remember Maciunas brought one of his Flux briefcases out west with him and showed us what was inside: 17 boxed objects from 17 Fluxus artists, including Yoko Ono’s infamous film “Bottoms (No. 4)” and a Stan Van Der Beek film loop, among other visual oddities that fascinated us. He invited us to join him and make similar things, so I started to make a series of objects I felt were in the spirit of Fluxus and sent them off to George over the next few years, having no idea that he was actually going to produce and distribute them!”

Maciunas sketched out these ideas (see above) and produced a couple of different cover graphics for Potentially Dangerous Electrical Household Appliance. The work consists of a red hinged plastic box, containing an electrical cord with two plug ends. It shares much in common with Gábor Altorjay’s 
Object for Short Circuit, published the same year in Germany, by Vice-Versand (below). 

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