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Artists Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow Photo

Allan Kaprow

American Performance Artist and Theoretician

Movements and Styles: Happenings, Performance Art

Born: August 23, 1927 - Atlantic City, New Jersey

Died: April 5, 2006 - Encinitas, California

Allan Kaprow Timeline

Quotes

"Not only does art become life, but life refuses to be itself."
Allan Kaprow
"Once the task of the artist was to make good art; now it is to avoid making art of any kind."
Allan Kaprow
"I am convinced that painting is a bore. So is music and literature. What doesn't bore me is the total destruction of ideas that have any discipline. Instead of painting, move your arms; instead of music, make noise. I'm giving up painting and all the arts by doing everything and anything."
Allan Kaprow
"You reveal something and its oddness by removing it from its normal usage."
Allan Kaprow
"Experimental art is the one kind of art that can affirm and deny art at the same time. It's the one kind of art that can claim as value no value, ... the one caveat is that it must be called art."
Allan Kaprow
"There are two directions in which the legacy could go. One is to continue into and develop an action kind of painting, which was what he was doing, and the other was to take advantage of the action itself, implicit as a kind of dance ritual."
Kaprow writing on Pollock

"The integration of all elements -- environment, constructed sections, time, space, and people -- has been my main technical problem..."

Allan Kaprow Signature

Synopsis

Allan Kaprow was a pivotal figure in the shifting art world of the 1960s; his "happenings," a form of spontaneous, non-linear action, revolutionized the practice of Performance Art. While Kaprow began as a painter, by the mid 1950s his interest turned to the theoretical, based primarily on the shifting concepts of space as subjectively experienced by the viewer. Kaprow emerged from the group of artists known as the Rutgers Group, based out of Rutgers University where Kaprow taught art history and studio art. Kaprow was among the many artists and critics who focused on an intellectual and theorized view of art, rejecting the monumental nature of Abstract Expressionist works and instead focusing on the act of their production. In particular, his influential essay, "The Legacy of Jackson Pollock," (1956), called for an end to craftsmanship and permanence in art and instead demanded that artists shift their attention to "non-concrete," or ephemeral, modes of production.

Key Ideas

Kaprow's happenings changed the definition of the art object. "Art" was no longer an object to be viewed hanging on a wall or set on a pedestal; rather, it could now be anything at all, including movement, sound, and even scent. Kaprow stated, "The everyday world is the most astonishing inspiration conceivable. A walk down 14th Street is more amazing than any masterpiece of art."
Kaprow was very clear that his works were connected with art and not theater. He stressed that his happenings were in the same category as the Action Painting of Abstract Expressionists and not with scripted scenes involving actors playing parts. Kaprow's pieces involved spaces he physically altered, with sights and sounds as deliberately composed as any canvas by Pollock or Rothko.
Kaprow rebelled against the prescriptions of Clement Greenberg, both in his art and in his writings: formal aesthetics, Kaprow believed, were no longer relevant when the art left the canvas. Kaprow's work was based on an "aesthetic of regular experience," a transient and momentary experience felt by the viewer being as significant as a painting on canvas.

Biography

Allan Kaprow Photo

Childhood

Allan Kaprow was born in 1927 in New Jersey. During his early years, he experienced chronic illness that forced him to move from New York to Tuscon, Arizona where he spent the rest of his childhood. There, separated from his Jewish, middle-class roots, he experienced life on a ranch, giving him a sense of the communal activity that came to dominate his later artistic career. Ill and often bed-bound, Kaprow began to develop an interest in arts and crafts, and eventually returned to New York to attend New York University and study Philosophy and Art History.

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Allan Kaprow Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Allan Kaprow
Interactive chart with Allan Kaprow's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Filippo Tommaso MarinettiFilippo Tommaso Marinetti
Piet MondrianPiet Mondrian
Yves KleinYves Klein
Jackson PollockJackson Pollock

Personal Contacts

Hans HofmannHans Hofmann
Meyer SchapiroMeyer Schapiro
John CageJohn Cage

Movements

DadaDada
FuturismFuturism
FluxusFluxus
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

Influences on Artist
Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow
Years Worked: 1927 - 2006
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Dick HigginsDick Higgins
Yoko OnoYoko Ono
Claes OldenburgClaes Oldenburg
Roy LichtensteinRoy Lichtenstein
Jim DineJim Dine

Personal Contacts

Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning
George SegalGeorge Segal

Movements

Pop ArtPop Art
MinimalismMinimalism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Installation ArtInstallation Art
Performance ArtPerformance Art

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Content compiled and written by Sarah Jenkins

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Sarah Jenkins
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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