Kaprow, Allan

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Allan Kaprow, Painter, educator of Pasadena, Calif.

From the description of Oral history interview with Allan Kaprow, 1968 Sept. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 657039358

From the description of Allan Kaprow interview, 1968 Sept. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220186948

Allan Kaprow (1927-2006) was a painter and educator from Pasadena, Calif.

From the description of Oral history interview with Allan Kaprow, 1968 Sept. 10. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 779477496

Painter, educator (Los Angeles, Calif.).

From the description of Allan Kaprow interview, 1981 Feb. 5 - 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 220178556

Allen Kaprow, painter and educator of Los Angeles, Calif.

From the description of Oral history interview with Allan Kaprow, 1981 Feb. 5 - 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 646395763

Allan Kaprow, the American artist who invented the Happening, has created more than 250 ephemeral works in the course of his career and has also been active as a critic and educator.

From the description of Allan Kaprow papers, ca. 1940-1997. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 83813824

Biographical / Historical Note

Allan Kaprow was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on August 23, 1927, and spent his childhood in Tuscon, Arizona. His family then moved to New York, where Kaprow attended the High School of Music and Art, graduating in 1945. He received his B.A. degree from New York University, where he majored in philosophy and art history and was a principle cartoonist for the college magazine. He then earned a Master's Degree in art history at Columbia University where he studied with Meyer Schapiro, to whom he dedicated his Thesis on Piet Mondrian in 1951. He also studied painting with Hans Hofmann (1947-1948) at Hofmann's school, and musical composition with John Cage at the New School for Social Research (1957-1958).

In the mid-1950s Kaprow began exhibiting his work, expressionist or fauvist-style paintings, at the Hansa Gallery, an East Village cooperative that he co-founded with a group of other young artists including Jan Müller, Felix Pasilis, and Jean Follett. By 1958, Kaprow's paintings had evolved into the interactive installations that he called Environments, at that time a novel concept in the American art scene. From this Kaprow moved to the notion of creating an event determined, like Cage's music, by a score that allowed for chance developments. The elements of these event pieces were always to be everyday objects (tires, cheap mirrors, aluminum foil, plastic strips), people (participants), and often sound (bits of household or workworld dialogue, breathing, industrial noise). He also generally dispensed with the gallery space and utilized urban spaces or sites in nature.

Kaprow had a long career as a professor of art and art history. He taught at Rutgers University (1953-1961), SUNY Stony Brook (1961-1968), California Institute of the Arts (1969-1974) and UC San Diego (1974-1993), and has been a visiting lecturer at numerous museums and universities. He also co-directed an educational program for the Berkeley public schools in 1969, Project Other Ways, and has authored several proposals regarding art education reform in the United States.

Beginning with his prescient article "The Legacy of Jackson Pollock," published in Art News in 1958, Kaprow has consistently produced critical and theoretical pieces that explain his kind of art as the most adequate aesthetic response to contemporary life. Assemblage, Environments, and Happenings (1966) presented the work of like-minded artists through both photographs and critical essays, and is a standard text in the field of performance art. Kaprow's Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life (1993), a collection of pieces written over four decades, has made his theories about the practice of art in the present day available to a new generation of artists and critics. In addition, major catalogs of Kaprow's work have been published in connection with retrospectives in the U.S. and Europe, most notably 7 Environments (1992).

The critical and public acceptance of Kaprow's work may be attributed as much to the polemics of Kaprow's writings and lectures as to his anticipation that American art would move away from the hermetic aesthetic of Abstract Expressionism and return, in certain respects, to the anti-subjective populism of Futurism, Constructivism and Dada. For four decades Kaprow has continued to work within the form of the Environment, Happening, or Activity, and has reinvented certain early works several times, making a total of nearly 250 pieces. His influence on other artists, especially the performance and installation artists of the 1970s and 1980s, has been significant. More than forty years after the first Happening, his work is the subject of continual critical discussion. While the form Kaprow largely invented has lost its shock-value, the quality of his ephemeral pieces continues to resonate through their scores and other surviving documentation.

From the guide to the Allan Kaprow papers, 1940-1997, (Getty Research Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Oral history interview with Allan Kaprow, 1981 Feb. 5 - 18. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Cutler-Shaw, Joyce, 1932-. Joyce Cutler-Shaw papers, 1972-2001. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Loew, Michael, 1907-1985. Michael Loew papers, 1930-1997. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Piet Mondrian, a study in seeing. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Lüthi, Urs, 1947-. Americans in Florence/Europeans in Florence [videorecording] / Long Beach Museum of Art. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
referencedIn Roth, Moira. Oral history interview with Moira Roth, 2011 Apr. 22-24. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Oral history interview with Allan Kaprow, 1968 Sept. 10. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Goldsmith, Caroline Lerner, 1925-2004. Caroline Lerner Goldsmith papers related to Allan Kaprow, 1963-1984. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
referencedIn Agostini, Peter. Oral history interview with Peter Agostini, 1968. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ashton, Dore. Dore Ashton papers, 1849-2010 bulk 1931-1983. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Franklin Furnace artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Alloway, Lawrence, 1926-1990. Lawrence Alloway papers, 1935-2003. Getty Research Library
creatorOf Watts, Robert, 1923-1988. Robert Watts papers, 1883-1989, bulk 1940-1988 Getty Research Library
creatorOf Snyder, Ellsworth. Ellsworth Snyder collection of Fluxus multiples and ephemera, 1958-1987. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn High Performance magazine records, 1953-2005 Getty Research Institute, Research Library
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Allan Kaprow interview, 1981 Feb. 5 - 18. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Frank, Mary, 1933-. Oral history interview with Mary Frank, 2010 Jan. 10- Feb. 3. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. [Allan Kaprow : International Art & Artists File]. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Schneemann, Carolee, 1939-. Carolee Schneemann papers, 1959-1994. Getty Research Library
creatorOf Experiments in Art and Technology (Organization). Experiments in Art and Technology records, 1966-1997 bulk 1966-1973. Getty Research Library
referencedIn Carolee Schneemann papers, 1959-1994 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Knowles, Alison, 1933-. Oral history interview with Alison Knowles, 2010 June 1-2. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Kaprow, Allan : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Fales Portrait/Subject Collection, ca. 1800-Present Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn High performance. High performance magazine records 1953-2003. Getty Research Library
referencedIn Agostini, Peter. Peter Agostini interview, 1968 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Segal, George, 1924-2000,. Oral history interview with George Segal, 1973 Nov. 26 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Lawrence Alloway papers, 1935-2003 The Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Dine, Jim, 1935-. Oral history interview with Jim Dine, 1965 Feb. 26 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Richards, Mary Caroline. Some thoughts about art and wholeness in learning [sound recording] 1969 November. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
referencedIn Wilentz, Ted. Ted and Joan Wilentz collection of Fluxus-related materials, 1963-1983. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
creatorOf Held, John, 1947-. John Held papers relating to Mail Art, 1973-2008. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Horvat, Frank, 1928-. [Robert Rauschenberg and others at the Robert Rauschenberg Retrospective at the Jewish Museum] [graphic] / Frank Horvat. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Allan Kaprow papers, 1940-1997 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Rosenberg, Harold, 1906-1978. Harold Rosenberg Papers, 1923-1984. Getty Research Library
creatorOf WGBH (Television station : Boston, Mass.). The medium is the medium [videorecording] / produced by WGBH-TV. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Allan Kaprow interview, 1968 Sept. 10. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Dine, Jim, 1935-. Jim Dine interview, 1965 Feb. 26. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Oral history interview with Allan Kaprow, 1968 Sept. 10. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Karp, Ivan C., 1926-. Oral history interview with Ivan C. Karp, 1963 Oct. 18 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Wolfgang Stoerchle papers, 1952-2007 The Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Agostini, Peter. Peter Agostini interview, 1968 [sound recording]. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Bowman, Ruth, 1923-. WNYC Views on Art radio program interviews, 1967-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Experiments in Art and Technology records, 1966-1993, 1966-1973 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Harold Rosenberg papers, 1923-1984 Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Stoerchle, Wolfgang, 1944-1976. Wolfgang Stoerchle papers, 1952-2007. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
creatorOf Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998. Dick Higgins Collection, 1958-2002 UMBC, Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery
creatorOf Friedman, Ken. Collection, 1964-1971. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Charles Boultenhouse and Parker Tyler papers, 1927-1994 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Robert Watts papers, 1883-1989 (bulk 1940-1988), Bulk, 1940-1988 The Getty Research Institute
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Kaprow, Allan : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Rodenbeck, Judith F. Judith Rodenbeck interviews with Allan Kaprow [sound recording], 1996-1998. Getty Research Institute, Research Library
referencedIn Diane Di Prima Papers, 1948-1971 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Conant, Howard Somers, 1921-. Howard Somers Conant papers, [ca.1946]-1985. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ken Friedman Collection, 1964 - 1971 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Ashton, Dore. Dore Ashton papers, 1849-1983 (bulk 1931-1983). Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Allan Kaprow papers, ca. 1940-1997. Getty Research Library
creatorOf Kron, Joan. Joan Kron papers, 1959-1971. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Kaprow, Allan. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Boultenhouse, Charles, 1926-. Charles Boultenhouse and Parker Tyler Papers, 1927-1994. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn John Held papers relating to Mail Art, 1973-2008 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Agostini, Peter. person
associatedWith Alloway, Lawrence, 1926-1990. person
associatedWith Antin, David. person
associatedWith Ashton, Dore. person
associatedWith Ashton, Dore. person
associatedWith Baecker, Inge. person
associatedWith Boultenhouse, Charles person
associatedWith Boultenhouse, Charles, 1926- person
associatedWith Bowman, Ruth, 1923- person
associatedWith Cage, John 1912-1992. person
associatedWith Celender, Don, 1931- person
associatedWith Conant, Howard Somers, 1921- person
associatedWith Conz, Francesco, 1935- person
associatedWith Cutler-Shaw, Joyce, 1932- person
associatedWith Dine, Jim, 1935- person
associatedWith Di Prima, Diane, Archives person
associatedWith Donguy, Jacques person
associatedWith Donguy, Jacques. person
associatedWith Experiments in Art and Technology (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Fluxus (Group of artists) corporateBody
associatedWith Frank, Mary, 1933- person
associatedWith Friedman, Ken. person
correspondedWith Friedman, Ken, 1949- person
associatedWith Goldsmith, Caroline Lerner, 1925-2004. person
associatedWith Hansa Gallery (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Hansa Gallery (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Harrell, John. person
associatedWith Held, John person
associatedWith Held, John, 1947- person
associatedWith Higgins, Dick, 1938-1998. person
associatedWith High performance. corporateBody
associatedWith Hofmann, Hans, 1880-1966 person
associatedWith Horvat, Frank, 1928- person
associatedWith Kantor, Tadeusz, 1915- person
associatedWith Kantor, Tadeusz, 1915-1990. person
associatedWith Karp, Ivan C., 1926- person
associatedWith Kirby, Michael. person
associatedWith Knížák, Milan. person
associatedWith Knízák, Milan person
associatedWith Knowles, Alison, 1933- person
associatedWith Kron, Joan. person
associatedWith Lacy, Suzanne. person
associatedWith Loew, Michael, 1907-1985. person
associatedWith McElroy, Robert R. person
associatedWith Mondrian, Piet, 1872-1944. person
associatedWith Moore, Peter, 1932-1993. person
associatedWith Oldenburg, Claes, 1929- person
associatedWith Pollock, Jackson, 1912-1956. person
associatedWith Richards, Mary Caroline. person
associatedWith Richter, Hans. person
associatedWith Rodenbeck, Judith F. person
associatedWith Rosenberg, Harold, 1906-1978. person
associatedWith Roth, Moira person
associatedWith Samaras, Lucas, 1936- person
associatedWith Schapiro, Meyer, 1904- person
associatedWith Schapiro, Meyer, 1904- person
associatedWith Schimmel, Paul person
associatedWith Schimmel, Paul. person
associatedWith Schneemann, Carolee person
associatedWith Schneemann, Carolee, 1939- person
associatedWith Seckler, Dorothy Gees, 1910- person
associatedWith Segal, George, 1924-2000, person
associatedWith Snyder, Ellsworth. person
associatedWith Stewart, Sherry. person
associatedWith Stoerchle, Wolfgang, 1944-1976. person
associatedWith Tyler, Richard O. person
associatedWith Vostell, Wolf, 1932-1998. person
associatedWith Wasser, Julian. person
associatedWith Watts, Robert, 1923-1988. person
associatedWith WGBH (Television station : Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Wilentz, Ted. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California--Los Angeles
California
California
California--Los Angeles
Art
California
Subject
Art, American--20th century
Educator--Interviews
Theater
Painters--Interviews
Art, Modern--20th century
Happening (Art)
Art--Study and teaching
Art, American
Performance art
Conceptual art
Occupation
Photographers
Function

Person

Birth 1927-08-23

Death 2006-04-05

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 35944917