Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Ken Friedman Collection
MSS 0128  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (163.80 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Friedman, Ken, 1949-
    Title: Ken Friedman Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1964 - 1971
    Extent: 7.80 linear feet (9 archives boxes and 31 oversize folders)
    Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, conceptual and mail art work, and ephemera documenting Ken Friedman's affiliation with Fluxus art movement spearheaded by George Maciunas. The collection includes examples of Friedman's Fluxus offset press, art work of other Fluxus artists, publications by Aktual, and examples of work by the Cleveland poet d.a. levy. Significant correspondents include George Brecht, John Cage, Dick Higgins, Ray Johnson, Milan Knizak, d.a. levy, George Maciunas, Jerry Rubin, and Paul Sharits. The collection is arranged in five series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS, 3) COLLABORATIONS, 4) FLUXUS, and 5) D.A. LEVY.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0128
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Ken Friedman Collection, MSS 0128. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    Kenneth S. Friedman (born September 19, 1949- ) attended Shimer College (1966-1967) where he studied music theory and composition with Richard Maxfield. He later received an MS from San Francisco State University in 1971 and, after that a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Human Behavior at U.S. International University in 1976. From 1967-1968, he was an instructor at San Francisco State College Experimental College, where he taught course in the literature of surrealism, the avant-garde, and expanded arts.
    Ken Friedman experimented with many forms of conceptual art during the period covered by the collection, from the graphic and concrete arts to music, writing and performance. While at Shimer College, Friedman directed an "underground" radio program, "Garnisht Kigele." Later, he edited ephemeral magazines as a member of the Underground Press Syndicate and became Editor-in Chief of Fluxus West Publications and General Manager of Something Else Press. Friedman founded Fluxus West in 1966 shortly after becoming acquainted with George Maciunas and other members of the New York Fluxus coterie.
    George Maciunas was the first person to use the term "Fluxus." In 1961, he sent out an invitation for an exhibition at the AG Gallery, noting on the invitation that the $3.00 cover charge was to be used for publishing FLUXUS magazine. The term came to designate an attitude toward art best exemplied in the work of Marcel Duchamp, the Dadaists, and John Cage. Indeed, many of the participants in the movement during the 1960s had personally studied with Cage or one of his disciples such as Richard Maxfield. Artistic values championed by principal Fluxus artists such as Friedman, Dick Higgins, George Brecht, and Yoko Ono, included spontaneity and indeterminacy.
    Besides Fluxus, Friedman also participated in Aktual and the New York Correspondence School, two other conceptual art movements occuring during the time represented by the collection. Since the date of the collection, Friedman's work has appeared in a number of exhibitions, and he has received commissions from the Joslyn Art Museum, the Western Museum Association, and the University of Tulsa.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The bulk of the materials in the Ken Friedman Collection date from 1967 to 1970 -- for Friedman, a period of expansive production of Fluxus materials and a continuing commitment to Happenings / events, collaborations, and the Unitarian Universalist Church and its affiliate organizations of Free Religious Youth (FRY) and Liberal Religious Youth (LRY). The collection best documents graphic design of the period (with many examples from Friedman's Fluxus offset press), works of the Fluxus group and publications by Aktual. Numerous scenarios, musical compositions, prose and poetry works are also included. Another interesting facet of the collection are the works and correspondence by poet d.a. levy and New York Correspondence School founder Ray Johnson. The papers are organized into five series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS, 3) COLLABORATIONS, 4) FLUXUS, and 5) D.A. LEVY.
    Series One: Correspondence
    The CORRESPONDENCE series arranges Friedman's communications alphabetically, with incoming and outgoing correspondence filed together. The correspondence has been segregated by author and arranged in chronological order when materials are dated. Of particular interest is the correspondence Friedman conducted with George Brecht, John Cage, Dick Higgins, Ray Johnson, Milan Knizák, d.a. levy, George Maciunas, Jerry Rubin, and Paul Sharits.
    Series Two: Writings
    The WRITINGS are organized in five subseries, each organized alphabetically by title: MISCELLANEOUS DOCUMENTS, COMPOSITIONS / MUSIC, SERMONS, FRY/LRY, and EDUCATION ESSAYS . The folders contain holograph manuscripts, typescripts, carbons and photo reproductions of Friedman' s productions from college writings of 1966 through Fluxus works of 1971. Of particular interest are numerous scenarios for Happenings, Fluxus events, and musical scores. Many examples of lyrics, sermons, prose works and poetry are represented, as well as the short novel: "O.K. Joe Sonata."
    Series Three: Collaborations
    This series is arranged in six subseries: MISCELLANEOUS (General, Catalogues, Events, Happenings), AKTUAL, GARNISHT KIGELE, SURREALIST RESEARCH BUREAU, and COLLECTED WORKS, with each subseries alphabetically arranged. Numerous Fluxus related works are evidenced in Series Three, with examples of offset posters, Aktual mimeograph books, a Radio Play by Dick Higgins for Garnisht Kigele titled: "Die Fabelhafte Geträume von Taifun Willi," and an edition of Alan Kaprow's "Days Off."
    Series Four: Fluxus
    Work in this series is arranged into two subseries: FLUXUS WEST / UPS and COLLECTED WORK. The subseries are alphabetically arranged. When titles are unavailable, offset graphic works are arranged by Friedman's numbering system, e.g. KF#31. This series contains an important holding of Fluxus Posters and broadsheets gathered or produced from 1964 - 1971, with numerous examples of oversized graphics produced by Friedman and other Fluxus principals including: "Spatial Poem No. 2", by Meiko (Chieko) Shiomi (1965); "Communist Must Give Revolutionary Leadership" by Henry Flynt and George Maciunas (1965); "Fluxpost 17-17", postage stamps by Robert Watts (1964).
    Series Five: d.a. levy Works
    This series contains Friedman's collection of d.a.levy's small press works. Several drawings and silkscreen works are contained in the series, along with single leaf mimeo sheets, limited editions, and documentation of levy's criminal prosecution for obscenity.
    A number of items have been separated from the collection and cataloged individually for the Library's Rare or Archive For New Poetry Monograph collections.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Friedman, Ken, 1949- -- Archives
    Levy, D.A. -- Archives
    Fugs (Musical group)
    Liberal Religious Youth
    Free Religious Youth
    Mail art
    Happening (Art)
    Avant-garde (Aesthetics)
    Art, Modern -- 20th century
    Fluxus (Group of artists)
    Performance art


    Brecht, George -- correspondent
    Cage, John -- correspondent
    Higgins, Dick, 1938- -- correspondent
    Johnson, Ray, 1927- -- correspondent
    Kaprow, Allan, -- correspondent
    Knizak, Milan, -- correspondent
    Knowles, Alison, -- correspondent
    Levy, D.A. -- correspondent
    Maciunas, George, 1931-1978, -- correspondent
    Rubin, Jerry -- correspondent
    Sharits, Paul -- correspondent
    Sohm, H. -- correspondent
    Spoerri, Daniel, 1930- -- correspondent
    Williams, Emmett, 1930- -- correspondent