Milan Knízák

artist name
Milan Knížák (Pilsen, Czech Republic, 1940) is an underrated artist. A lot has been written about him over the years and his work received exposure in many leading galleries and museums. He has, however, not received full recognition for his pioneering.
A few years ago a newspaper article described Christian Marclay as the first to experiment with ‘Broken Music’. This artist, who was strongly influenced by John Cage and Fluxus in his early years, gained fame in the ’80s when he started working with gramophone records. He made scratches on them or broke them apart to create new records with the pieces. These ‘recycled records’ were also played on a turntable.
Milan Knížák had already done this in 1963.
Knížák was a pioneer with his Broken Music from 1963 but his ‘fashion’ was also innovative. Photos in Allan Kaprow’s book Assemblage, Environments & Happenings (1966) show Knížák modifying his clothing by, for instance, using safety pins to fasten a piece of cloth to his jacket.
Men wearing jackets decorated with safety pins, women wearing mismatched shoes, earrings made from everyday objects, recycled clothing; all of these things have been presented as ‘new’ by others in later years.
Clothes as worn by him and his friends during the early ’60s in Prague were shown at his exhibition at Galerie A in 1980. Knížák also reconstructed some of ‘Broken Music’ for the show.