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The categories of ‘art’ and ‘life’ play a central role in the critical reception of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings, which have predominantly been read as a generalized, “blithely affirmative” and even “faintly embarrassing” attempt to fuse the two. This paper attempts to rethink the definition and relation of these two categories in Kaprow’s work. Rather than an uncritical attempt to fuse art and life, I suggest, Kaprow’s Happenings developed an increasingly complex, branching and networked structure, capable of staging a plurality of different modes of interaction between work and world. This paper explores both the modes and the contexts of these interactions in three of Kaprow’s Happenings of the 1960s.

Open Access
In: Journal of Avant-Garde Studies