Dick (Richard Carter) Higgins (1938-1998) is best known as a co-founding member of
the Fluxus art movement in the 1960s. Embracing the fluidity and boundary-crossing
nature of art, Higgins introduced the concept of "intermedia" in 1965 and spent the
next 30 years creating artwork in the areas of performance art (Happenings), musical
composition, concrete and pattern poetry, painting, and theoretical writings in scholarly
and personal publications. He operated three successful specialized publishing companies:
Something Else Press (1964-1974), Unpublished Editions (1972-1978), which was later
renamed Printed Editions (1978-1985). Higgins was a student of John Cage and a contemporary
of George Maciunas, George Brecht, Al Hansen, Ray Johnson, Yoko Ono, LaMonte Young,
and Alison Knowles, whom he married (twice) and raised two children, Hannah and Jessica.
Organized into four series: Series I. Dick Higgins, 1976-1999. Series II. Something
Else Press, 1961-1992. Series III. Fluxus, 1958-2002. Series IV. Franklin Furnace,
Series I. Dick Higgins
Series II. Something Else Press
Series III. Fluxus
Series IV. Franklin Furnace
The Dick Higgins collection spans the years 1958 to 2002 and is 17.5 linear feet.
Materials include artwork, publications, and exhibition items. Over one hundred items
have been cataloged and are searchable in the USMAI catalog; like the rest of the
collection materials, these publications can be viewed in the Special Collections
Reading Room only.
There are three major divisions within the Dick Higgins collection and they correspond
to the official series: Dick Higgins's artwork, publications, and exhibition materials;
publications from Something Else Press; and individual and collaborative artwork and
publications from members of the greater Fluxus movement. With the exception of the
ReFlux Editions items housed in Series III.B, all items were donated from Higgins's
studio by Alison Knowles. The ReFlux Editions items were purchased by the library
from Printed Matter in 2002; see Series III.B container listing and the Publications
section in this finding aid for a complete listing of these items.
Higgins's own materials are located in Series I. A sampling of his own artwork is
included, as well as some published works. Publications by Higgins's that were put
out by Something Else Press are located in Series II. The exhibition materials include
the flier, bookmark, and catalog from Intermedia, the exhibit produced at UMBC in
2003 using items from this collection as well as privately owned holdings. Our collection
of Higgins's materials does not contain any personal papers, correspondence, or business
records; please see the bibliography section for Higgins collections at other archives
Series II contains publications from Something Else Press, the publishing house that
Higgins ran from 1964 to 1973. The only non-publication materials in this series are
two book covers; the business records for Something Else Press are not available in
this collection. Highlights from these publications include works by George Brecht,
John Cage, Allan Kaprow, Emmett Williams, Gertrude Stein, and Higgins himself.
The third and largest series contains a wide variety of artwork in the Fluxus tradition.
This series is divided into two sub-series, one which contains individual artist's
works and the second which contains anthologies and collections of Fluxus artwork.
Over 20 individual artists are represented in sub-series A, including George Brecht,
John Cage, Ken Friedman, Alison Knowles, and Emmett Williams. Highlights from the
collections in sub-series B include the Fluxus Virus Box "mini-museum" (1992), the
Fluxus Anthology 30th Anniversary 1962-1992 Sound Anthology. (1992-1993), and items
from the ReFlux Editions collection. The ReFlux Editions items are the only materials
that were not donated from Higgins's studio; they are housed together in Box 8.
A selection of promotional materials from Franklin Furnace in New York City is included
in the fourth series. These items relate to both Higgins and the greater Fluxus movement.
This collection was donated by Alison Knowles, Higgins's wife, in 1999. UMBC Visual
Arts professor Lisa Moren assisted with the acquisition process. The materials were
collected from Higgins's studio in Barrytown, New York. Contained in the collection
are items from Higgins's personal holdings of Fluxus history and artwork, as well
publications from Something Else Press, which Higgins's ran from 1964-1973. Moren
later selected additional Fluxus items for library purchase; see Series III.B, Fluxus
- Collections for the ReFlux Editions items and Flux: a v tre extra, and Series III.A,
Shiomi, Mieko. Events & Games.
Dick Higgins Collection, MsC 790, University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA).Dick Higgins Archive, MS132, Northwestern University (Evanston, IL).Dick Higgins papers, Collection 870613, Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, CA).
The collection was processed by Lindsey Loeper, Visiting Librarian, in the fall of
2007. Additional items were located in the summer of 2008 and the finding aid was
updated to reflect these items in September 2008. A preliminary inventory had previously
been conducted in preparation for Intermedia, an exhibit showcasing Dick Higgins and
Fluxus at UMBC in 2003. Lisa Moren created a website (located at http://intermedia.umbc.edu)
that contains this initial inventory, information about the items, and a selection
of digital images. After the Intermedia exhibit was removed, the collection materials
were placed in acid free flat boxes and any original order from Higgins's studio was
not preserved. An inventory of these boxes was conducted and series designations were
assigned. The materials were then rehoused according to the series. Many items required
protective folders or tissue paper.
The publications from Something Else Press had been removed from the collection, cataloged,
and shelved with the Special Collections General Rare Books and Book Arts items. At
the time of processing the collection it was decided that the publications should
be returned and shelved with the collection boxes. There were also approximately 60
published items that were not published by Something Else Press that had remained
with the collection and did not have catalog records. Catalog records were created
for these items and they are shelved with the Higgins's collection. All publications
are listed on the container list in the appropriate series; please note that their
location information is a call number and not a box and folder number. The publications
are housed with the collection and organized by call number.
Describing Archives: a Content Standard (DACS)
Archives Processing Manual: Description (2015): The processing manual used in Special Collections for all descriptive platforms, including
Finding aid available.
Finding Aid: http://library.umbc.edu/speccoll/findingaids/coll043.php
Reproductions allowed for research purposes. Copyright maintained by the creators.
Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998
Cohen, Joel S.
Eaton, Manford L.
Finch, Peter, 1947-
Finlay, Ian Hamilton
Friedman, Ken, 1949-
Gomringer, Eugen, 1925-
Gris, Juan, 1887-1927
Gutman, Walter, 1903-1986
Hansen, Al, 1927-1995
Hutchins, Alice, 1916-
Jacoby, Ruth, 1903-
Johnson, Ray, 1927-1995
Katz, Leon, 1919-
Kippenberger, Martin, 1953-1997
Knowles, Alison, 1933-
Mac Low, Jackson
Mallarmé, Stéphane, 1842-1898
Marciunas, George, 1931-1978
McLuhan, Marshall, 1911-1980
Miller, Larry (Composer)
Oehlen, Albert, 1954-
Oldenburg, Claes, 1929-
Paik, Nam June, 1932-2006
Phillips, Michael Joseph
Porter, Bern, 1911-2004
Reichert, Josua, 1937-
Ridder, Willem de
Riddle, James, 1933-
Robson, Ernest M.
Roth, Dieter, 1930-1998
Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931-
Spoerri, Daniel, 1930-
Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946
Toorn, Jan van, 1932-
Topor, Roland, 1938-1997
Vautier, Ben, 1935-
Vostell, Wolf, 1932-1998
Watts, Robert, 1923-1988
Williams, Jonathan, 1929-2008
Art, Modern -- 20th century
Fluxus (Group of artists)
Something Else Press
Printed Editions (Firm)
Printed Matter, Inc.
Franklin Furnace (Archive)
Extent: 63 items
Series I contains items which focus directly on Higgins's professional career.
Includes artwork made by Higgins, promotional materials relating to Higgins exhibitions
(including Intermedia), and publications of Higgins's work. This series is arranged
chronologically. The best effort has been made to house items in numerically sequential
boxes but due to the irregularity of the item sizes this was not always possible;
please note the box, folder, or call number listed when requesting an item. Publications
from Something Else Press are located in Series II. All items are from Higgins's personal
Date: 1976-1997, undated
Extent: 40 items
These items are prints or originals of artwork done by Dick Higgins
Date: 1987-1999, undated
Extent: 18 items
Exhibition posters, catalogs, and other promotional material for Higgins's exhibits
are included in this series. Six separate exhibits are represented including Intermedia,
an exhibit held in the Albin O. Kuhn Gallery in 2003.
Extent: 5 items
This series includes two biographical works about Higgins as well as three books
of his writing that were not published by Something Else Press, Higgins's first publishing
company. The books by Higgins that were published by Something Else Press are located
in Series II.
Extent: 1 folder
This subseries contains 9 typed letters of coorespondence between Dick Higgins
and Arthur and Glee Knight.
Date: 1961-1992; bulk 1961-1974
Extent: 54 items
Dick Higgins founded Something Else Press in 1964. Higgins ran the press over the
next 10 years from New York City, California, and Vermont, specializing in Fluxus
works and other out of print publications, including several by Gertrude Stein. Something
Else Press supported many "intermedia" projects, a term Higgins coined in a 1965 issue
of the Something Else Newsletter, also found in this series. The publications have
been cataloged and are stored by call number; these are non-circulating items and
can only be viewed in the Special Collections Reading Room. The listing below is organized
alphabetically by author last name; please see the Publications section of this finding
aid for a chronological listing. The series also contains proofs for two book jackets:
Merce Cunningham: Changes: Notes on Choreography edited by Frances Starr, and Lucy
Church, Amiably by Gertrude Stein.
Extent: 76 items
The final series contains Fluxus items and artwork by artists other than Dick Higgins
as well as collections or anthologies. As a founding member of the Fluxus movement,
Higgins participated in many of the anthologies. All materials in this series that
have a call number have been cataloged; those with box and numbers have not. Like
all Special Collections materials, the cataloged items can be viewed in the Special
Collections Reading Room only. The best effort has been made to house items in numerically
sequential boxes but due to the irregularity of the item sizes this was not always
possible; please note the box, folder, or call number listed when requesting an item.
Date: 1958-2002, undated
Extent: 33 items
Items are arranged alphabetically by the artist's last name. See sub-series 3.B
for individual artwork contained in Fluxus collections and anthologies.
Date: 1960-2002; bulk 1980-2002
Extent: 44 items
This sub-series contains collections that demonstrate the variety of thought and
art forms that were included in the Fluxus movement. Typically only the editor is
named in the citations below; please contact Special Collections to view the items
in person or request information on a specific artist or item. Box 8 contains items
from the Flux Kit, a collection of Fluxus collectibles produced by ReFlux Editions
and available through Printed Matter in 2002. This listing is chronological; the items
in 8 have been listed alphabetically by artist last name.
Extent: 22 items
Founded in 1976, Franklin Furnace has provided a venue for otherwise unsupported
artists to present avant-garde, performance, and time-based art. "Fluxus: A Conceptual
Country" began an international tour at Franklin Furnace in October 1993. This series
contains posters, promotional materials for upcoming events, and artist postcards.
Publications used for this finding aid:
"Dick Higgins: In Memoriam." PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 62, vol. 21, no.
2 (May 1999). Special section containing articles about Higgins. Accessed November
18, 2015. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/paj/toc/paj21.2.html#cluster2a.
Friedman, Ken. "Dick Higgins, 1938-1998." Umbrella 21, no. 3/4 (December 1998): 106-9.
Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.fluxus.org/higgins/ken.htm.
"Intermedia: The Dick Higgins Collection at UMBC." Exhibition catalog. Baltimore,
MD: University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2003.
Smith, Roberta. "Dick Higgins, 60, Innovator In the 1960's Avant-Garde." Obituary.
New York Times, Late Edition (October 31, 1998): 16.
"Intermedia: the Dick Higgins Collection at UMBC." Website. Accessed November 18,
Fluxus Portal. Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.fluxus.org/.
Alison Knowles website. Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.aknowles.com/.
Digitized copies of the Great Bear Pamphlets at UbuWeb. Accessed November 18, 2015. http://www.ubu.com/historical/gb/index.html.