Artist of Week 1- Allan Kaprow

Allan Kaprow was an American painter, assemblagist, and pioneer in forming the concepts of performance art.  He was born on August 23, 1927 in Atlantic City, NJ, and died on April 5, 2006 in Encinitas, CA.  He helped develop the “Environment” and “Happenings” in the late 1950s and 1960s.  During that time, he had made 200 happenings that evolved over the years.  Eventually, he switched his practices into “Activities.”  He was an artist who liked to use many different things to make his art.  He had passion for his art and wasn’t doing it just for the fame but because he actually liked doing what he did.

In his art, I analyzed the meanings he created behind them.  For example, one of his biggest projects an ice happening called “Fluids.”  Since it was made out of ice, he knew that it would eventually melt and I wondered why he would make it if he knew that it would not last.  Another one was called “Eat,” and it showed a bunch of people eating different things off of random things.

At first, I thought all of this was really strange and wondered how something like this can be called art.  However, after seeing my classmates’ comments about his different pieces of art and about what they meant, I figured that art isn’t always about the end result, but about the process.  I think that Kaprow tries to slow down everything and focus on the “now”.  When I hear the word “art,” I think of a finished drawing or painting, not people licking jam off the hood of a car.

For me, I don’t usually draw and am not really an artist.  Therefore, I don’t usually see myself doing doing anything art related.  However, after seeing what Kaprow does as his art, and all of my classmates’ comments about art, I think I do do things in everyday life that can be considered art related.  Just riding my bike to class everyday can be considered art, and the notes I take can too.  Art can be both an action or a thing, and it doesn’t matter if it’s neat or not, it is still be considered art.


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