Fluxus Bucks, for those unfamiliar with the name, was a project
started by Julie Paquette (also nicknamed Ex Post Facto, Anne
Maybe, Nobody's Wife!, and other nom de plumes) from Garland,
Texas, USA in 1994. She started with the idea that the project
should somehow show the changes in the world around us.
Then came the call:
"Artists, tired of worrying about money?
Request any amount--it will be filled in Fluxus Bucks.
An ongoing project--documentationand bucks to all."
To date many thousands of Fluxus Bucks have been produced and
The Fluxus movement itself is a "hard-to-define" art movement
that started in the 1960's. As one of it's founders, Ken Friedman
has said it is "an elusive philosophy made real by the fact that
real artists engaged one another and the world in real acts under
the name Fluxus."
Fluxus is about the re-perception of actions, objects or feelings
found in everyday life. It's strength is in its simplicity combined
with its irreverent humor.
Fluxus took the phenomenon of correspondence art, started by Ray
Johnson and the New York Correspondence School as a relatively
private exchange of art, and exploded it outward, giving birth
to a vast and constantly growing network of mail artists.
More historic background has been provided by friend and fellow
mail Artist, Vittore Baroni, who points out "that the creative
fakes of dollar bills have a history of their own, starting much
earlier than Julie Paquette's project. You are sure aware of Monopoly-like
board-games play money and of the "hell money" you are supposed
to burn for good luck, I think these kinds of playful money also
have a place in our familiarity with bogus banknotes, but surely
for a modern or contemporary artist to play with the concept that
"art is money" takes on immediately heavy (ironic) reverberations.
Pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein (Ten Dollar Bill, 1956) and
Andy Warhol (Printed Dollar Bill, 1962) painted their own version
of the money icon, but Fluxus-related artists like Ray Johnson
and Robert Watts went a step further: Johnson made several "one
dollar bills" exhibitions, integrating sometimes real banknotes
in his collages, while Watts printed in 1962 realistic drawn replicas
of dollar bills on paper (much like the Ragged Edge 50s below)
that were conceived to be given away free in great quantities
"to devalue art and money at the same time" (but years later these
same bills were assembled in packs inside wooden boxes and sold
as "sculptures"!). Please note that the Fluxus money was NOT called
FLUXUS BUCKS or whatever, this is an homage idea from Julie Paquette,
the Watts pieces were called "Dollar Bill (1962)" and "Dollar
Bills in Wood Chest (1975)" and the banknotes read "one dollar-United
States of America", they were in fact realistic sketched drawn
renditions of the actual dollar bill, with no changes in text,
in true Fluxus fashion appropriating real life: you can see one
reproduced on page 534 of the huge Fluxus Codex book (Abrams,
I should also mention that it was an e-mail from Vittore Baroni
about Fluxus Bucks that inspired Tom Kerr and myself to produce
our own "Flux Bucks 50."