Ben Vautier, also known simply as Ben, is a French artist. Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973. He discovered Yves Klein and the Nouveau Réalisme in the 1950s, but he became quickly interested in the French dada artist Marcel Duchamp, the music of John Cage and joined the Fluxus artistic movement in the 1960s. In 1959, Vautier founded the journal Ben Dieu. In 1960, he had his first one-man show, Rien et tout in Laboratoire 32. He is also active in Mail-Art and is mostly known for his text-based paintings; an example of the latter is his work "L'art est inutile. Rentrez chez vous" (Art is Useless, Go Home). He has long defended the rights of minorities in all countries, and he has been influenced by the theories of François Fontan about ethnism. For example, he has defended the Occitan language (southern France).
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