Allan Kaprow

Category : Arts, Students

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Allan Kaprow, (born Aug. 23, 1927, Atlantic City, N.J., U.S.—died April 5, 2006, Encinitas, Calif.), American performance artist, theoretician, and instructor who invented the name Happening for his performances and who helped define the genre’s characteristics.

Kaprow studied in New York City at the High School of Music & Art (now LaGuardia Arts; 1943–45) and New York University (B.A., 1949) and also trained in painting at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art (1947–48). In 1952 he was awarded an M.A. from Columbia University, where he had studied medieval and modern art under the influential art historian and critic Meyer Schapiro. Kaprow also attended a class in composition taught by the avant-garde composer John Cage at the New School for Social Research (1957–59). There Kaprow met like-minded fellow students George Brecht, Dick Higgins, Al Hansen, and others. During this period, Kaprow abandoned traditional arts and gravitated to the more theoretical and philosophical questions surrounding the making of art. He was active as a producer and promoter of live and experimental art, cofounding the Hansa Gallery in 1952 and the Reuben Gallery in 1959 and codirecting the Judson Gallery; each of these galleries was a primary venue for the many new hybrid art genres of the early 1960s. These included Happenings (which, according to Higgins, Kaprow explained by saying, “I didn’t know what to call it, and my piece was just supposed to happen naturally”) and Environments (in which the artist manipulated controlled spaces so that the spectator experienced a variety of sensory stimulants).

Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web. 03 Nov 2014.\

Photo via The Creators Project. Web. 03 Nov 2014.

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