"Objects of every sort are materials for the new art: paint, chairs, food, electric and neon lights, smoke, water, old socks, a dog, movies, and a thousand other things...." + Allan Kaprow

 

 

Happenings

A happening, by definition, is an "artistic event of a theatrical nature, but usually improvised spontaneously without the framework of a plot." (happening) In addition, happenings are the creation of a brand new environment within an already preexisting environment. Thus, visitors to the piece or setting would not only take in the creation, but would also become part of the creation itself, and would be able to manipulate the happening in various manners. Kaprow's first offical happening occured on October 1959 at the Reuben Gallery, and was titled "18 Happenings in 6 parts." " The visitors, whose tickets directed them to specified seats in each room at particular times and with strictly choreographed movements, witnessed, among other events, a girl squeezing oranges, an artist lighting matches and painting, and an orchestra of toy

instruments." (Wikipedia) This first happening was considered to be a very large success, as the art form became highly popular and trendy for both the artists and socialites in the New York area and beyond. A happening could occur anywhere - in traditional and untraditional locales - such as train stations, parking lots, classrooms, galleries, gymnasiums, or just about any location available to the public. Kaprow continued producing happenings throughout the entire 1960s, creating pieces such as; Apple Shrine (1960); Coca Cola, Shirley Cannonball?(1960); A Spring Happening (1961); Yard (1961); A Service for the Dead (1962); Words (1962); Eat (1964); and Household(1964). Kaprow also began touring around the country with his students on behalf of Hans Hoffman
painting school, displaying his happenings to the country in a show entitled "Push and Pull: A Furniture Comedy for Hans Hofmann." "[Kaprow's] view [on the happenings] was that the assemblage was to be 'handled and walked around', the environment' was to be 'walked into', but the happening was to be a genuine 'event' involving spectator participation and no longer confined to the museum or gallery. (Allan Kaprow) The events in which the actors/artists took part in were to be

derived from real life, thus the happening had both of a theme and a symbolic quality to things outside the realm of the art world. (Wikipedia) Allan Kaprow created his happenings long after the 1960s, although, after a while, the medium did begin to lose the tremendous popularity it had when form was first created, as all things eventually do (partially due to the decrease in shock value which was present when the first happenings were created at the end of the 1950s). But Allan Kaprow would continue to create his happenings for several more years, and, it is said, that he still creates them today from time to time. Although now Allan Kaprow is involved in another profession; as he spent so much of his life being a student, it is only fitting in some respects that Kaprow himself would gradually become a teacher towards the end of his career. Continue To Later Career - Teaching >>>

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