In June 2014 I visited The Fluxus Indian Museum which resides in an apartment over a garage in the building known as “The Carriage House”. It’s part of Garst Farm Resort and located within the Whiterock Conservancy, which is about 60 miles upstream from Des Moines, IA (click on the Whiterock website for specific directions). As this is a resort area (canoeing, hiking, excellent bird-watching, a beautiful old barn with three floors available for social events, a visitors center, etc.) the second floor apartment in the carriage house is available for a daily rental fee, and Allen Bukoff’s Fluxus Indian materials & placards – which belong to Elizabeth (Liz) Garst – can be viewed by appointment if no one is renting the place when you want to come by (current keeper of reservations is available at PH#712-790-3024). Click on the thumbnails to view large and to read the placards. Click on THE FLUXUS INDIAN MUSEUM, Allen Bukoff’s website, to learn more. There is a separate display in the apartment’s bathroom of items contributed to the museum by previous visitors. I did not photograph those items, but they are also really fun to see. Liz said the bathroom is one of her favorite parts of the museum. I left her with a gift* as well, though I’m not sure she’ll be able to work it into the bathroom display. (*A ceramic dino-dog made by Levent Isik.)
After seeing the museum I sat down with Liz Garst to chat about the museum and how she went to school with Allen in Coon Rapids and about her family’s endowment of Garst Farm to the conservancy. She’s only had one complaint about associating the idea of a fictional Indian tribe with articles in the museum, and will not feel compelled to end the display unless additional complaints are forth coming. I view the association as good, clean fluxus fun — much like the “Steam Punk” scene ripping off artifacts of the Victorian age and convoluting them to express something entirely new. The Fluxus Indians are a kind of fictional anthropology, much like fictional countries which mail artists create in order to design their own cinderella postage artistamps. The exhibit is getting old now, as seen by the fading placards and aging materials as they develop the patina of a “real historical museum”. In a couple small shelves placed at eye level between book shelves are collections of miniature artifacts which I caught in a few of the photos in this blog. Liz doesn’t remember if Allen arranged them or if she arranged them as she accumulated small items over the years. A few books associated with Fluxus are amid lots of other books displayed near the fluxus miniature paraphernalia, so it would be fun to go back someday and spend a night or two at the apartment perusing the books, and a day enjoying the stream and parkland areas, and perhaps check out the goings-ons in nearby Coon Rapids as well.