Alison Knowles

Alison Knowles (1933 – present)

‘It is important to remember that we are free to make art and poetry out of anything: a loaf of bread, some beans, a hasty jotting on the train.’

– Alison Knowles

Alison Knowles’s association with Fluxus began when she stopped painting and met a group of people at the New School who were studying with John Cage and had, as she has described, a “non ego” approach to art-making. Knowles was attracted to the spirit of collaboration imbued within Fluxus.

Knowles is well-known for her ‘event scores’; the real meaning of the event is in the experience and ‘happening’ of it. Event scores challenge the notion that ‘music is the score’: in buying a score in a music shop, you would only come away with a piece of paper, not the experience. Event scores were not to be conflated with improvisation.

One of her most famous pieces, Make a Salad involves the preparation of a salad on stage, which is then eaten by the audience. Knowles made salads at Tate Modern, the High Line, and Art Basel. The emphasis is on the experience; the art itself disappears. Knowles placed huge emphasis on the power of performance:

“For me, a piece is not really living unless it’s presented, whether it’s music or an event score”.

– Alison Knowles

The role of gender played an important part in Knowles’ earlier pieces, including Make a Salad:

“I was a married woman with two children. [Salad] was something that I loved and understood how to cook…It was something that I knew I could do on a stage that maybe a man couldn’t do as well.”

– Alison Knowles
Make A Salad
Make A Salad (2008)

Knowles married fellow Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in 1960; they divorced later in 1970.

Official Website:

Official website: 

Knowles & Fluxus:

Alison Knowles General Bio:

Official Instagram Account:

Alison Knowles official Instagram account:


Shuffle, performed by Live Art Denmark:

Knowles discussing the Fluxkit:

Live performance of Making a Salad at Tate Modern:

Knowles on Fluxus ‘Event Scores’:

Construction of the House of Dust:

Background to the House of Dust:

Knowles on Identical Lunch and the Identical Lunch Symphony:

The Big Book and The Book of Bean:

House of Dust: ​​

Three Songs, March 1978:

Newspaper Music:

The Big Book:

On the Identical Lunch:

Sounds from the Book of Bean:

Written Texts:

by Alison Knowles (a list of Knowles’ event scores, published in 1965 by Something Else Press):

About by Alison Knowles:

About Womens Work magazine:


‘Objects/Poems: Alison Knowles’s Feminist Archite(x)ture’:

‘When Making a Salad Became Groundbreaking Performance Art’:

Article on The Boat Book:

‘For Fluxus Artist Alison Knowles, Anything Can Be Art’:

Salad, Art and Music, the Mix of Alison Knowles in Fluxus (German):

Interviews & Talks:

‘Transvironments’: A Talk by Alison Knowles:

Summary of oral history with Alison Knowles, 2010: 

Oral history with Alison Knowles, 2010:

2005 interview:

Alison Knowles on the history of Fluxus:


‘Methods of Art’ biography:

Biography (German):

‘Archives of Women Artists Research & Exhibitions’ biography:

‘Center for Book Arts’ biography: ​​

‘The Center for Humanities’ biography:

Conz Archive biography:

‘Harvard Radcliffe Institute’ biography:

LA Phil biography:


Biography (from Fluxus Networks in Eastern Europe): 

Visual Exhibits:

Biography & visual exhibits:

Visual exhibits:

Visual exhibits & performance photographs:


‘Clear Skies All Week’ exhibition: 

Knowles on her Carnegie Museum Show with a background of her life and works: