Putting a "fluxus frame" around conventional art

Homemade reproductions of art by famous artists displayed in holes in the ground
To view our entire catalog of underground art go here.
To view the catalog entry for a specific work of art, please click on its photo below.
da Vinci Botticelli Magritte
Van Gogh Fra Angelico Bosch
Kandinksy Wood Michelangelo
Klee Klimt Greco
Seurat Rubens Rembrandt
Warhol Dali JuliĆ”
Toulose-Lautrec Munch Grandma Moses
To view our entire catalog of underground art go here.
To view the catalog entry for a specific work of art, please click on its photo above.

Making them.

Instructions/performance script. 1. Use internet to find and download artwork images. 2. Use image editing software to resize image to desired size. 3. Print image out on transfer-image film (you can use either light or dark t-shirt film...dark t-shirt transfer usually results in higher quality final image). Option: I added the image of my Fluxus Midwest logo to the border of each artwork. 4. Trim image from transfer paper using scissors or cutting board. 5. Cut piece of canvas (I use art-store canvas that has been pre-coated with gesso), heat iron, and iron-on transfer image following directions provided with transfer film. 6. Use saw to cut piece of wood (from new or scrap lumber, firewood logs, etc.) to serve as backing for canvas image (use ruler and pencil to layout cut lines on wood). 7. Position canvas on wood block and use staple gun to staple and stretch canvas around wood block. 8. Create and print "Underground Art" sign on cardstock paper. 9. Staple sign to wooden signpost (created from scrap board using hand saw). 10. Use shovel to dig hole in ground for art and smaller hole for sign post. Remove dirt and grass to sturdy cardboard dirt box. 11. Place artwork in hole, and signpost behind hole. 12 (optional). Photograph artwork, sign and hole to document performance. 13. Leave artwork in display for as long as you like (I typically displayed these for six-hour, all-afternoon periods). Alternative: leave artwork in hole and bury with dirt. 14. Remove artwork and signpost. Repair holes by replacing dirt and grass. Fill water jug and soak damaged area with water to hasten repair. 15. Use photos and documentation to create catalog and/or website.

Project poster
(download and print your own version)

The creative backstory.

This project started with a joke or pun about "underground art." My friend, Heidi Lichtenstein, the owner of metro Detroit's famous hipster-resale shop, Cinderella's Attic, announced she was going to be putting on an "art show" at her new location. Among other things, "underground art" would be featured. I immediately got the idea to take a traditional work of art and display it in a hole in the ground for this event. I created this display and performance in the yard at Cinderella's Attic during the art show on

Saturday, May 10, 2008. Although I had originally just planned to do this as a one-time joke, I began thinking that it would be fun to repeat this projecty/performance using a lot of different conventional or "mainstream" art images. This "underground art" project became a regular Saturday afternoon event for me during the rest of 2008 (until Saturday, November 1st when I decided to suspend the project for the winter--too hard to dig holes when the ground is frozen. My current plan is to resume this project next spring. We'll see.

Several additional "games" have evolved during the course of this project. 1. I started creating new "underground art" signs and this has evolved into a game where I now try to create a new sign every week that reflects something about the artwork or the environment. 2. I have started altering the Fluxus Midwest logo I attach to the artwork to reflect some theme or characteristic of the artwork. These two "games" have provided me with an additional creative outlet and challenge within a fairly repetitious project.

In the meantime, I've amassed a nice collection of "famous paintings" on various interesting pieces of wood. I look forward to doing further projects with this collection of objects--e.g., displaying them all on a wall or floor, displaying them in a yard full of holes, or burying them underground somewhere.

Another project & back story from Fluxus Midwest and WorkingCreativity.com

Creative Commons License All photos and text on this page by Allen Bukoff
are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Each painting's image belongs to its creator or other copyright holder.