Fondazione Antonio Ratti

Allan Kaprow

Just Doing

5 July 1997
Spazio Culturale Antonio Ratti

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Visiting professor of the third edition of CSAV - Artists' Research Laboratory, Allan Kaprow retraces the evolution of his career: from the first gallery works, the environments, the happenings, up to the latest works, reserved to a smaller audience. Starting from the desire to be "the most modern artist who has ever lived in the world", Kaprow describes the gradual and programmatic exit from museums and galleries, towards a dimension as far from tradition as possible, like the streets of Los Angeles or a New York apartment. Thus, the story of his artistic path, which indelibly marked the second half of the last century, becomes the paradoxical story of the attempt to make art not in the context of art, itself but that of life.

Allan Kaprow (Atlantic City, 1927 - Encinitas 2006) was a leading figure in postwar art theory and art history. His most important contribution to the artistic language was the definition of happening, "a convergence of events that take place in more than one unit of time and place". Kaprow studied painting and art history with Hans Hofmann and Meyer Schapiro and music composition with John Cage. He held numerous solo exhibitions all over the world and his works are represented in the collections of the most important American and European museums. He has created happenings and environments sponsored by private galleries, museums, and academic institutions in major American and European cities. In 1966, his key text Assemblage, Environments and Happenings, was published. Kaprow has also taught at Rutgers, Pratt Institute, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and was vice-rector of the California Institute of Arts, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego.

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