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Allan Kaprow

American artist

Allan Kaprow (23 August 19275 April 2006) was an American Fluxus artist, assemblagist a pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art, and the originator of Happenings.

Quotes of Allan KaprowEdit

  • Pollock.. ..left us [c. 1958] at the point where we must be preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life, either our bodies, clothes, rooms, or, if need be, the vastness of Forty-Second Street [New York].. ..Objects of every sorts are materials for the new art, paints, chairs, food, electric and neon-lights, smoke, water, old socks, a dog, movies, a thousand other things which will be discovered by the present generation of artists.. ..All will become materials for this new concrete art.
    • In his essay 'The legacy of Jackson Pollock', published in 'ARTnews', Fall of 1958; as quoted by Christina Bryan Rosenberger, in 'Drawing the Line: The Early Work of Agnes Martin', Univ. of California Press, July 2016, p 121
    • this essay of 1958 became more or less an art-manifesto for the generation American artists after Abstract Expressionism
  • ..Around late 1961 to 1962, right around there, somewhat unevenly and sort of spottily, I began to do pieces that were based upon a short text of actions that only involved a handful of friends or students at some specific site — a site that was not marked as an art site, a ravine somewhere, or a roadway, or somebody's apartment, or the telephone, that is, the places of everyday life, not designated as sites of art. And the work itself, the action, the kind of participation, was as remote from anything artistic as the site was.. ..I chose the word Happening from its normal language usage somewhat earlier for that philosophical reason, but I didn't categorize that as lifelike until much later. But in fact, looking back, that's exactly what Happening meant.
    • In an interview with Robert C. Morgan, 1991; in the 'Journal of Contemporary Art, 4', no. 2, p. 56-69
  • Well, you know, a lot of work nowadays [c. 1991] tends to be illustrative of theory already written, and some of it tends to be quite consciously didactic, as if the determination is to teach somebody something. And letting that go for the moment, as far as its value is concerned, it's exactly the opposite of what I seem to find most useful, and that is to leave things open and not determine anything except the very clear form. The form is always very simple and clear. What is experienced is uncertain and unforeseeable, which is why I do it, and its point is never clear to me, even after I've done it. So that's a very, very different way of looking at the nature of our responsibility in the world.
    • In an interview with Robert C. Morgan, 1991; in the 'Journal of Contemporary Art, 4', no. 2, p. 56-69
  • [something like] a badly constructed or repaired motor, or like that wonderful event of Tinguely's, where he made a huge contraption in the backyard of the Museum of Modern Art called 'Homage to New York'[1], which was a machine that destroyed itself in various humorous ways. It's that breakdown system along with slippages that you can't predict I find most interesting, not because I want to make a point about society as being a broken down system or that all life is entropic — I don't, but rather that its process is unforeseeable.
    • In an interview with Robert C. Morgan, 1991; in the 'Journal of Contemporary Art, 4', no. 2, p. 56-69
  • Most humans, it seems, still put up fences around their acts and thoughts – even when these are piles of shit – for they have no other way of delimiting them. Contrast Paleolithic cave paintings, in which animals and magical markings are overlayed with no differentiation or sense of framing. But when some of us have worked in natural settings, say in a meadow, woods, or mountain range, our cultural training has been so deeply ingrained that we have simply carried a mental rectangle with us to drop around whatever we were doing. This made us feel at home. (Even aerial navigation is plotted geometrically, thus giving the air a 'shape').
    • In his Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life', 1993; published by University of California Press, 4 October, 1993
  • ..it's not what artists touch that counts most. It's what they don't touch.
    • In his Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life', 1993; published by University of California Press, 4 October, 1993

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