Fluxus is an international and interdisciplinary group of artists, composers, designers and poets that took shape in the 1960s and 1970s. Dutch gallerist and art critic Harry Ruhé describes Fluxus as "the most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties". Fluxus is known for experimental contributions to different artistic media and disciplines. Fluxus is also known for generating art forms that were new when Fluxus artists created them. These art forms include intermedia, a term coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins, concept art, first developed by sometime Fluxus artist Henry Flynt, and video art, first pioneered by Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell.
Fluxus participants included "artists, composers, designers, and architects, as well as economists, mathematicians, ballet dancers, chefs, and even a would-be theologian. Equally significant, they represented nations on three continents – Asia, Europe, and North America.
They produced performance "events," which included enactments of scores, "Neo-Dada" noise music, and time-based works, as well as concrete poetry, visual art, urban planning, architecture, design, literature, and publishing. Many Fluxus artists share an anti-commercial and anti-art sensibility. Fluxus is sometimes described as intermedia. The ideas and practices of composer John Cage influenced Fluxus, especially his notion that one should embark on an artwork without a conception of its end, and his understanding of the work as a site of interaction between artist and audience. The process of creating was privileged over the finished product. Another influence was the readymades of Marcel Duchamp, a French artist who was active in Dada (1916-c. 1922). George Maciunas, a co-founder of this fluid movement, coined the name Fluxus in 1961 to title a proposed magazine.
Many experimental artists of the 1960s took part in Fluxus activities, including Joseph Beuys, George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Al Hansen, Dick Higgins, Bengt af Klintberg, Alison Knowles, Addi Køpcke, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Daniel Spoerri, and Wolf Vostell. The broad and varied nature of the artists involved in Fluxus involved a community of friends who worked together. They had different ideas about art and the role of art in society. The overlapping communities within Fluxus and the way that Fluxus developed in overlapping stages meant that participants had very different ideas about what Fluxus was. One Fluxus co-founder – George Maciunas – proposed a well known manifesto, but none of the other artists agreed with it, and few considered Fluxus to be a movement. Instead, a series of festivals in Wiesbaden, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, London. and New York, gave rise to a loose but robust community. In keeping with the reputation Fluxus earned as a forum of experimentation, some Fluxus artists came to describe Fluxus as a laboratory. Fluxus played an important role in the opening up of definitions of art.