"A Something Else Reader is a previously-unpublished anthology edited by Dick Higgins in 1972 to celebrate Something Else Press, the publishing house he founded in 1963 to showcase Fluxus and other experimental artistic and literary forms.
The publication features selections from Claes Oldenburg’s Store Days, John Cage’s Notations, An Anthology of Concrete Poetry, Breakthrough Fictioneers, Jackson Mac Low’s Stanzas for Iris Lezak, Gertrude Stein’s Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein, Bern Porter’s I’ve Left, Wolf Vostell’s Dé-coll/age Happenings, Al Hansen’s A Primer of Happenings & Time/Space Art, and other projects for the page by Robert Filliou, Alison Knowles, Nam June Paik, Philip Corner, Daniel Spoerri, André Thomkins, and Richard Meltzer, among others. An annotated checklist assembled by Hugh Fox and Higgins’s unpublished introduction are also included.
Perhaps no other publisher in the 60s influenced artists’ books more than Something Else Press. Higgins had a firm vision that radical art could be housed in book form and distributed throughout the world and he worked endlessly to cultivate new works that challenged conventional notions of both contemporary art and books. While other presses created extraordinary publications, none were able to achieve the breadth of titles and artists like Higgins, who successfully ran Something Else Press until 1974 in a manner that resembled a more traditional paperback publisher.
Oddly, Higgins hadn’t intended to publish A Something Else Reader himself. Instead, in 1972, he assembled the table of contents and an introduction into a proposal that he then pitched to Random House. They eventually rejected the title and encouraged Higgins to publish it, but before he could do that, Something Else Press went out of business, and the dreams of the anthology evaporated. From there, the proposal went into Higgins’s archive, where it was found by scholar and curator Alice Centamore, who compiled the works and assembled A Something Else Reader.
Eleanor Antin, George Brecht, Pol Bury, Augusto de Campos, Clark Coolidge, Philip Corner, William Brisbane Dick, Robert Filliou, Albert M. Fine, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Hugh Fox, Buckminster Fuller, Eugen Gomringer, Brion Gysin, Richard Hamilton, Al Hansen, Jan J. Herman, Dick Higgins, Åke Hodell, Ray Johnson, Allan Kaprow, Kitasono Katue, Bengt af Klintberg, Alison Knowles, Richard Kostelanetz, Ruth Krauss, Jackson Mac Low, Robert K. Macadam, Toby MacLennan, Hansjörg Mayer, Charles McIlvaine, Richard Meltzer, Manfred Mohr, Claes Oldenburg, Pauline Oliveros, Nam June Paik, Benjamin Patterson, Charles Platt, Bern Porter, Dieter Roth, Aram Saroyan, Tomas Schmit, Carolee Schneemann, Mary Ellen Solt, Daniel Spoerri, Gertrude Stein, André Thomkins, Wolf Vostell, and Emmett Williams are all included in A Something Else Reader.
Dick Higgins was an American artist, composer, theorist, poet, and publisher, as well as a co-founder of Fluxus. After attending Yale and Columbia Universities and receiving a BA in English, he graduated from the Manhattan School of Printing. He studied music composition with Henry Cowell, attended John Cage’s course in experimental music at The New School, and participated in the inaugural Fluxus activities in Europe from Fall 1962 to Summer 1963. He founded Something Else Press in 1963 and in 1972, he founded Unpublished Editions (later renamed Published Editions). Over the course of his life, Higgins wrote and edited forty-seven books."