Active between 1968 and 1972, the ONYX group of architects introduced New York to the experience of the Funk architecture of California’s hippy communes. Their projects were an expression of their logic of protest and refusal, not through self-exclusion from the society of consumption but rather through the choice of alternative languages that sought to represent emergent culture at the time. Like Ant Farm, doubtless the best-known experimental group of the radical movement in America, ONYX drew inspiration from and referred to the beat generation and hippy culture. They expressed their theoretical interpretation of architecture, free of any professional or conventional logic, mainly through graphic montages. Their work, owing to its distribution methods, took the form of a kind of mail art. The group produced its large format posters in limited numbers and sent them by mail. The mail architecture of the ONYX group represented an unusual communication tool and it gave their research an ironic and liberating dimension.
Founded in New York in 1968, the ONYX group was made up of young architects for whom we only know the pseudonyms of that period: Charles Albatross, Mr. & Mrs. Harvey Grapefruit and the Orange, Patrick Redson, Okra Plantz, Tom Fulrey, Lili Piuschin, Michael B. Hinge, A’ Lloyd, Williams and Woodson Rainey. Best-known for their posters, they also created installations (Geodesic Globe, 1970) and multi-media performances (University of Utah, February 1972). The group disbanded in 1972.