Intermedia, Fluxus Artist
COPYRIGHT YOUR DNA! download here
Homage to Nam June Paik - James Cohan Gallery April 14, 2007
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Larry Miller is an intermedia artist whose work has been presented extensively in global venues since his initial solo exhibition in New York in 1970. He was active in the development of multi-media and performance-based works in SoHo's earliest alternative spaces, and was associated with developing new configurations in the period that gained critical currency in being described as "installation art". Knives (1973), his renowned installation of found objects and photographs regarding homeless men on New York's Bowery, was included in New York ca. 1975, an exhibition of defining works from the period at David Zwirner Gallery, New York in 2001.
As a kindred spirit to artists who view their work less as a profession than as a form of pure research into the nature of experience, Miller was to become a core associate of the group of artists known as Fluxus. Miller's early work as research artist is characterized as much by his provocative approach to subject matter and telling humor as by his implementation of unconventional means and materials not familiar to the territory of traditional art. To explore the invisible biology of the mind, he worked with professional hypnotists, "psychic" mediums, healers and ritual magic. He has implemented novel strategies to address ambiguities of inner experience and its outward manifestation. Drawing upon a background in music, theater and the visual arts, he composes configurations that merge diverse media and participatory elements, cutting across disciplines to blend ironic humor and poetic contemplation.
Maintaining his spirit of art-as-experiment, Miller was in the forefront of artists focusing on the potential of DNA and genetic technologies. Following his exhibitions and performances concentrating on issues of human lineage, identity and the coding of DNA, his pioneering work became an essential component in a series of exhibitions concerning the "Genetic Revolution." In "Corbet's Studio", the installation by Tony Oursler at Musee D'Orsay, Paris and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2005, Miller's "Genetic Code Copyright Certificate" was shown within a collection of works that Oursler cited as inspirational to his own work.
Whether presented as live performance, specific site installation, or gallery exhibition, Miller considers all of his works -- as well as himself -- to be "performing objects." In this view, there are no fixed boundaries between objects, events, time and space, or between definitions that societies offer for science, art, and religion. Since the late 1980s, he has questioned such boundaries in works exploring issues raised by genetic science. Basing lines of conceptual inquiry on his 1989 "copyright" claim to his personal genome, he focused on questions of the ownership of DNA, and of the commercial applications of genetic technology. In 1992, Miller launched an international public action, which has since facilitated thousands of individuals in making claims to their genetic rights. Miller created the Genetic Code Copyright Certificate and published it in several languages. This simple fill-in form provides a declaration of copyright of one's own genome. Subsequent works springing from this notion have further speculated on the applications of genetic science. His Genomic License series postulates that DNA is a malleable material which, like clay or digital information, can be shaped into novel products -- bought, sold, and distributed like any other commodity. His Genetic Code Copyright certificate can be downloaded for personal use from the Creative Time DNAid website, www.creativetime.org.
Miller has been associated with the international Fluxus group of artists since 1969. In addition to his numerous original compositions which have joined the collective's catalog of works , he has been active as an interpreter of the "classic" scores - bringing the group's works to a wider public and attracting media coverage such as the worldwide CNN coverage of Off Limits exhibit at Newark Museum, 1999. Miller's activities as organizer, performer and presenter within the Fluxus milieu include: Performance in Fluxus Continue 1963-2003 at Musee d'Art et d'Art Contemporain in Nice; Fluxus a la Carte in Amsterdam; and Centraal Fluxus Festival at Centraal Museum, Utrecht, Netherlands. In 2004, For Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University 1958-1972, Miller reprised and updated the track and field events of the Flux Olympics, first presented in 1970. Along with Alison Knowles, he organized a Fluxus Concert with students at University of Maryland, for the exhibition, Intermedia: The Dick Higgins Collection at UMBC. In Do-it Yourself Fluxus at AI - Art Interactive - in Cambridge, Mass. Miller worked as the curatorial consultant for an exhibit of works that allowed viewers hands-on experience. A major component of the show was the reconstruction of several sections of the historic Flux Labyrinth -- a massive and intricate maze that Miller originally constructed with George Maciunas at Akademie Der Kunst, Berlin in 1976. To punctuate the exhibit at AI, Miller directed a "classic" concert of Fluxus scores with local performance artists. A documentary television program on CA-TV (Cambridge Community Television) covered the several aspects of the show. For the opening of George Brecht - A Heterospective at Museum Ludwig, Cologne in 2005, Miller organized an opening night program to be performed along with Alison Knowles, Ben Vautier and other original Fluxus performers to demonstrate the scope of Brecht's concept of events; the following day he organized a rare performance of Brecht's 1960 Motor Vehicle Sundown (Event) For John Cage, which featured more than 40 vehicles in Cologne's historic Dom Platz adjacent to the famed cathedral. The performers followed Brecht's classic score utilizing a variety of vehicles as instruments of sound, including fire trucks, police and military vehicles and vintage automobiles. A large public audience attended, and the event spectacle was broadcast live on German television.
Larry Miller's work has been exhibited and performed in museums, galleries, and institutions around the world, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The New Museum, Gallery LeLong, Stux Gallery, and Emily Harvey Gallery in New York; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; La Biennale di Venezia; Akademie Der Kunste, Daadgalerie and Bonner Kunstverein, Germany; Ecole Nationale Des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and other venues in Europe, Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada and the USA. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections. He has published texts and videos on art and Fluxus artists -- most notably, Interview With George Maciunas, the group founder, which has been screened internationally and translated into numerous languages. In 1994, he co-curated the first Fluxus Online website.
Exhibitions related to genetics include: Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution, Exit Art, NYC, 2000 (touring U.S. through 2004); From Code to Commodity: Genetics and Visual Art, New York Academy of Science, NYC, 2003; Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2002 to 2005), Codes and Identity, Clifford Art Gallery, Colgate University, New York, 2003, How Human: Life in the Post Genome Era, International Center of Photography, New York, 2003 and DNA[do not assume], Bowling Green State University, Ohio 2005. Miller has received individual artists fellowships and exhibition grants from the New York State Foundation for the Arts, Creative Artists Program and the National Endowment for the Arts. A native of Missouri, Miller earned his MFA degree at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1970.