March 15, 1938|
|Died||October 25, 1998
|Field||Printmaking, Composing, Poetry|
Dick Higgins (March 15, 1938 – October 25, 1998) was a composer, poet, printer, and early Fluxus artist. Higgins was born in Cambridge, England, but raised in the United States in various parts of New England, including Worcester, Massachusetts, Putney, Vermont, and Concord, New Hampshire.
Like other Fluxus artists, Higgins studied composition with John Cage at the New School of Social Research in New York. He married fellow artist Alison Knowles in 1960. Both took part in the Wiesbaden, Germany Fluxus festival in 1962. He founded Something Else Press in 1963, which published many important texts including Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, artists John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Claes Oldenburg, Ray Johnson, Bern Porter, leading Fluxus members George Brecht, Wolf Vostell, Daniel Spoerri, Emmett Williams, Ken Friedman, and others. His daughter, Hannah Higgins is the author of Fluxus Experience, an authoritative volume about the Fluxus movement. Her twin sister, Jessica Higgins, a New York based intermedia artist closely associated with seminal curator Lance Fung, late Fluxus gallerist Emily Harvey and The Artists Museum's and Construction In Process, performed and collaborated as a youth in original Fluxus related events.
Higgins coined the word intermedia to describe his artistic activities, defining it in a 1965 essay by the same name, published in the first number of the Something Else Newsletter. His most notable contributions include Danger Music scores and the Intermedia concept to describe the ineffable inter-disciplinary activities that became prevalent in the 1960s. He was an early and ardent proponent and user of computers as a tool for art making, dating back to the mid-1960s, when Alison Knowles and he created the first computer generated literary texts. His The Book of Love & War & Death, a book-length aleatory poem published in 1972 included one of those. In his introduction, Higgins says, having finished the first three parts of the poem throwing dice, he wrote a FORTRAN IV program to produce part or Cantos four.
All in all he wrote and edited forty-seven books, including On the Composition of Signs and Images, his edition of a Giordano Bruno text, which he annotated. He saw Bruno's essay on the art of memory also as an early text on multi- or intermedia.
A Dialectic of Centuries: Notes towards a Theory of the New Arts collected many of his essays and theoretical works in 1976.
In 1972 Higgins founded Unpublished Editions to publish his short novel Amigo, which was later renamed Printed Editions.
Dick Higgins died of a heart attack while attending an event in Quebec, Canada.
See also 
- Speculations: An Essay on the Theater
- Mac Wellman
- The Flea Theater
- Performance art
- Elizabeth LeCompte
- The Wooster Group
- Ontological-Hysteric Theater
- Richard Foreman
- Richard Schechner
- Allan Kaprow
- Marina Abramović
- Experimental theatre
- Something Else Press
- Concrete poetry
- Alison Knowles
- Language poets
- List of Concrete and Visual Poets
- Visible Language
|Wikiversity has learning materials about Performance art|
- Higgins Remembered
- Fluxus Performance Workbook
- Higgins's Metadramas
- 1966 Statement on Intermedia
- Dick Higgins, Danger Music Number Seventeen, 0:26 web published on the Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine project archive at Ubuweb
- Dick Higgins' page on UbuWeb
- Intermedia Tribute to Dick Higgins
- Ruud Janssen interview with Dick Higgins about mail art
- Dick Higgins Intermedia book back in print with SDSU Press scroll down, near the bottom
- Works by or about Dick Higgins in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Dick Higgins collection, 1958-2002 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- Dick Higgins papers, 1960-1994, bulk 1972-1993 at the Getty Research Institute
- Dick Higgins Collection, 1968-1993 (MsC 790) at the University of Iowa
- Dick Higgins papers, 1960-1994 The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, California. Papers collected or generated by Higgins, documenting his involvement with Fluxus and Happenings art movements, pattern and concrete poetry; new music, and small press publishing from 1972 to 1994, with some letters dated as early as 1960. Correspondence primarily consists of carbons of Higgins’ letters, with many responses and, in some cases, extensive exchanges with Fluxus, Mail Art and Art and Language artists, Concrete and Sound poets, New Music composers, and Small Press publishers and poets; also includes art pieces and manuscripts by these correspondents.