Geoffrey Hendricks, 86, Attention-Getting Fluxus Artist, Dies

Geoffrey Hendricks, 86, Attention-Getting Fluxus Artist, Dies

Another of Mr. Hendricks’s works was “Dream Event” (1972), which he described as “a 48-hour piece where I was fasting, sleeping and writing down dreams, naked on a mattress, under a sheet, with a pitcher of water to keep me from getting dehydrated and a pot to pee in, and where people could come in to observe at any hour of the day or night.”

And there were Mr. Hendricks’s headstands, which he performed all over the world — standing on his head for extended periods, perhaps painted blue or with signage dangling from his feet.

“I got to seeing a headstand as kind of a bonsai performance, sort of the minimum of performance,” he explained in an oral history recorded in 2016 for the Archives of American Art. “It was dealing with the least amount of space that you could work with, and it was just simply positing yourself in one place, and then reversing yourself.”

Mr. Hendricks was, in short, an experimentalist of the first order.

“The artists associated with Fluxus tended to lead bifurcated art-lives,” Barbara Moore, a historian of the movement, said by email, “on the one hand, creating unclassifiable objects and performances that continue to undermine expected gallery and institutional presentation; and on the other, producing works that can be exhibited in more traditional ways. Geoff encompassed this duality brilliantly.”

Geoffrey Hendricks was born on July 30, 1931, in Littleton, N.H. His parents, Walter and Flora Bishop Hendricks, were writers who traveled in intellectual circles; his father was an English professor who founded Marlboro College in Vermont and several other educational institutions.

Geoffrey attended the Putney School in Vermont and then enrolled at Amherst College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1953, when the Korean War was still in progress. Having been raised a Quaker, he applied for conscientious objector status and ended up doing alternative service teaching chronically ill patients at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. He pursued art studies at the same time at the Cooper Union, receiving his certificate there in 1956.

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