Robert Watts, a conceptual artist and designer helped start the whimsical anti-Establishment Fluxus movement in art. A native of Burlington, Iowa, Mr. Watts trained at the Arts Student League and earned a master's degree in art history from Columbia University in 1951. The following year, he began to teach film and mixed media at Rutgers University, which he continued for several years. An enthusiastic practitioner in mixed media, he immediately took to the neo-Dadaist Fluxus movement founded in the early 1960's by George Maciunas. A loose grouping of artists, its earliest circle also included Yoko Ono and George Brecht. Its productions ranged from ''happenings'' that required audiences and often demanded their participation, to satires of Madison Avenue work, to more conventional art forms, such as sculpture. Mr. Maciunas, once described Fluxus as ''a fusion of Spike Jones, vaudeville, gags, children's games and Duchamp,'' and combining his interests in art and real estate, helped turn a lower Manhattan loft district into what is now SoHo. Watts' part in the movement dated from a performance in Wiesbaden, West Germany, in 1962, and his witty and often whimsical work continued to be shown widely in Europe as well as in the United States. Examples of it are in the collections of the Houston Art Museum, the Albright-Knox Art Museum in Buffalo, N.Y; and museums in Stockholm; Cologne, Darmstadt and Aachen, West Germany. In New York, his designs and automated constructions were shown at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum. One of his creations was ''Starchief,'' a green dashboard of a Pontiac Starchief which plugged into an electric outlet. The piece would make monotonous noises while the odometer clicked off the miles at a rate indicating it was doing 300 miles an hour. Another work, a hairy rug pierced by a lever, would spew shaving cream all over the viewer who pulled the lever.