Having taken part in neoists art manifestations and the movement; manifestations of all and always of weird kinds in Montreal in the 80's, I have been wondering for quite a while if this movement had died down ?
As I perceived it, it was an alternative art-social movement, mainly an unusual art movement where different people from different western countries were involved, but kind of a restricted somewhat set of individuals. I believe I knew around a dozen.
It is very difficult for one person to stand up socially, artistically in a radical way, for a group it's possible.
At some point it was thriving in Montreal amongst other cities: turning a supper into a manifesto, giving performances and marching up, turning upside down the audience (unaware) in a cinema, disrupting staid artists' vernissages with flaming irons.
If KIKI BONBON, or TRISTAN or TENTATIVELY A CONVENIENCE or MONTY CANTSIN read this, I'd be very pleased as they were at the core of themovement...
And do not equate at all nihilism and neoism !!!!
Neoism was coined in 1914 by the American satirist Franklin P. Adams as a parody of modern arts. Sydney J. Bounds used the word as the name of a planet in his 1977 Science Fiction story No Way Back. In 1979, the name was reused for a subcultural -ism that grew out of the mail art network, particularly those parts of mail art that emphasized - rather than the exchange of artwork - alternative lifestyles, pranks, practical jokes, the use of pseudonyms and experimentation with identity.
Centered around the idea of the "open pop star" or multiple persona Monty Cantsin in Montreal, Canada, New York, New York and Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. Neoism quickly spread to other places in America, Europe and Australia and involved up to two dozens of Neoists. Until the late 1980s and before the mass availability of the Internet, the mail art network continued to be used as the main communication and propaganda channel for Neoism.
Neoists refer to their strategies as "the great confusion" and "radical play". They were acted out in semi-private Apartment Festivals which took place in North America, Europe and Australia between 1980 and 1998 and in publications which sought to embody confusion and radical play rather than just describing it. Consequently, both Neoist festivals and Neoist writing experimented with radical undermining of identity, bodies, media, and notions of ownership and truth. Unlike typical postmodern currents, the experiment was practical and therefore existential. Monty Cantsin, for example, was not simply a collective pseudonym or mythical person, but an identity lived by Neoists in their everyday life.
For these purposes, Neoists employed performance, video, small press publications (such as Smile, the international magazine of multiple origins) and computer viruses, but also food (Chapati), flaming steam irons and metal coat hangers (used as telepathic antennas). Borrowing from Thomas Pynchon, Neoism could be more suitably called an "anarchist miracle" of an international network of highly eccentric persons collaborating, often with extremist intensity, under the one shared identity of Monty Cantsin and Neoism.
In 2004 Neoism was cited by Javier Ruis in response to the National Assembly Against Racism's condemnation of anarchists disrupting the Third European Social Forum session on anti- m and anti-racism in London (PGA Considered As Neoist Invisible Theatre).
In the early 1980s, the Neoist Reinhard U. Sevol founded Anti-Neoism, which other Neoists adopted by declaring Neoism a pure fiction created by Anti-Neoists. The Dutch Neoist Arthur Berkoff operated as a one-person-movement "Neoism/Anti-Neoism/Pregroperativism". Similarly, Blaster Al Ackerman declared himself a "Salmineoist" after Sicilian-American actor Sal Mineo, and John Berndt was credited by Ackerman as having given Neoism the name "Spanish Art," circa 1983. In 1989, following the post-Neoist "Festival of Plagiarism" in Glasgow, Scotland, artist Mark Bloch left mail art and after publishing "The Last Word" remained defiantly silent on Neoism for almost two decades. In 1994, Stewart Home founded the Neoist Alliance as an occult order with himself as the magus. At the same time, Italian activists of the Luther Blissett project operated under the name "Alleanza Neoista".
In 1997, the critic Oliver Marchart organized a "Neoist World Congress" in Vienna which did not involve any Neoists. In 2001, the Professional Association of Visual Artists in the German city of Wiesbaden declared itself Neoist. In 2004 Istvan Kantor received the Governor General's Award, and an international "Neoist Department Festival" took place in Berlin.
Monty Cantsin, Ishtvan, was chucked out of the States after doing a performance, well, going to the Museum of Modern Art of New York with a can of red paint and painting a big red cross on the floor splashing on the walls (paintings...). It made the news...
I think the Internet rendered the movement obsolete.
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE here.
Neoism is, indeed, still alive, albeit aging, & still a source of the GREAT CONFUSION, I suggest looking at this website:
which is largely based on this book:
There's even an upcoming APT Fest. Here's a message from Monty Cantsin AMEN:
"Neoist Research Archive and APT Fest in Estonia, june / 2012
"While there is tons of information about Neoism digitally displayed all over the net
we are assembling an info-capsule research archive of hardcopies, printed documents, photography, letters, messages, books, flyers, and whatever that can be sent to
"Monty Cantsin, EKKM, Vabaduse väljak 6-29, 10146 Tallinn, Estonia...
"this wont really... be a mail-art show but rather an archivist demonstration and research piece to be part of Istvan Kantor Monty Cantsin? Amen!'s "Insurgent Neoist" mashup-remix lebensraum takeover hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Estonia, june 16 - july 16, 2012.... The takeover will be extended by a Neoist APT Fest, open for participation, june 18 - 24, in multiple locations in Tallinn...
"The events are presented under the umbrella of EKKM and coordinated
by Istvan and Kiwa with the help of local and international co-conspirators,
detailed information will be available soon! contacts: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org"
After doing a little research, I found out that the art/social movement neoism is still very active... It's been called disruptive art; radical art forces -artistic interventions..
And her I quote some kind of definition "disruptive innovation as a model of artistic creation ".
I always though neoism was about keeping people entertained and guessing.
Well entertained yes, guessing too but also a social upheaval movement in an art expression
they only way to keep people guessing is to keep upheaving. Not to allow any habit or predictability.