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Inaugural show, ‘Assemblings’ to open at Ontological Museum

Assemblings (Part One), an inaugural exhibition From the archives of the Eternal Network, opens at the Ontological Museum (OM) in Pagosa Springs March 10 and runs through April 15.

The museum location is 262 Pagosa St. The phone number is (817) 944-4000.

The opening reception is March 10, from 5–7 p.m.

Regular winter hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 2-5 p.m.

On view will be a selection of Assemblings, including Franticham’s Assembling Boxes from Ireland, Art/Life Magazine, Tensetendoned-We Absorb assemblings; Fluxkits from Fluxpress Saint Louis, Bamboo Assemblings, KART magazine (an assembling publication from Australia); Fluxlist Fluxbox; Post Cards from the Assembling: A Book About Death; selections from the Fluxcase Micro Museum. Additional related works from the Permanent Collection will also be on view.

 What are Assemblings?

 Assemblings are collections or compilations of works of art, multiples, objects, writings, visual poetry and/or ephemera submitted by a network of participants to a single hub where a central editor collates one copy from each artist’s edition of submitted materials into a number of portfolios.

A common practice is for the editor to then send back one folio or assembling of works to each participating member. Assemblings might be in the form of a box of loose materials, a bound book or magazine format, etc. or even a collection of sound works or short videos.

On view at this exhibit are examples of assemblings in box form, magazine format, an unbound book and collections of objects. In fact the museum itself is an assembling in its own right.

 History of Assemblings

Assemblings — as shown in this exhibit — have been created since the early 1960s as artists, writers and small independent printers worked on developing alternative, underground distribution networks for their experimental art and literature.

As the art and literary worlds came to be controlled by powerful and well established business interests that, in essence, were seen as cultural gate keepers, the creative community experimented with direct mailings and other self-initiated ways to reach out to their collaborators and extended audiences; what we would today call niche markets, based primarily on networks of people with similar interests.

This kind of experimentation led directly to the establishment of the international Mail Art community known as the Eternal Network which celebrates its 50-year anniversary this year as does Fluxus, an amorphous group of artists that has been highly influential in developing the Mail Art scene in the ’60s and ’70s and on through to the present.

About the OM

The Ontological Museum, established in 1994 as an experimental art museum, opens it’s new space in Pagosa Springs with this exhibition.

The museum houses an internationally focused collection of art that numbers in the tens of thousands of items and growing through direct donations of works from artists.

The museum collects inclusively within the parameters of its mission that includes several interrelated fields: collage, assemblage and constructive art in general, as well as works from the contemporary Fluxus and Mail Art communities and the art groups: the International Post-Dogmatist Group, the Massurrealist Group, the International Society of Assemblage and Collage Artists, and the Neoist Society.

Also in the collection are snapshot photography, visual poetry, small press publications, artist books, and the plethora of documentation, correspondence art and ephemera related to these communities and groups.

The Ontological Museum, now open in Pagosa Springs, has been a mobile museum keeping works in storage and using exhibition spaces in various locations including commercial art galleries, university galleries, contemporary art centers and museums around the country. The founding director, Cecil Touchon, has curated 15-plus museum exhibitions and published more than 25 related books and catalogs since starting the exhibition program in 2007.

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