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Reconsidering ‘Art’ and ‘Life’

The Multiple Entanglements of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings

In: Journal of Avant-Garde Studies
Author:
Laura Routledge University of Gothenburg Sweden Gothenburg

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Abstract

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.

Abstract

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.

The categories of ‘art’ and ‘life’ play a central role in the critical reception of Allan Kaprow’s work. They are foregrounded, for example, in the titles of the collection of Kaprow’s essays edited by Jeff Kelley (Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, 1993), and in the collection of archival resources and essays edited by Eva Meyer-Hermann, Andrew Perchuk and Stephanie Rosenthal (Allan Kaprow: Art as Life, 2008). As the slight semantic slippage between these titles might suggest, however, the ways in which Kaprow understood these categories, and in which his work addressed the relation between the two, are complex and have not been fully accounted for. Kaprow’s work is frequently read as the epitome of a belief in both the capacity for, and the value of, fusing the two categories. Kaprow, writes Stephanie Rosenthal, “demanded that art and life should become one”.1 David Hopkins posits Kaprow’s work as the epitome of a generalized, “blithely affirmative” and “faintly embarrassing” mid-century attempt to bring together art and life, and as a foil for the more nuanced, Duchampian approaches to this problem in mid-century art.2

This reading of Kaprow’s work as an uncritical attempt to bring together art and life has a long critical history. In Peter Bürger’s influential Theory of the Avant-Garde (1971), the work of the “historical avant-garde” is defined as an attempt to collapse the status of art as a distinct, isolated sphere of experience, to “reintegrate art into the praxis of life”, and, ultimately, “to organize a new life praxis on the basis of art”.3 This is a project that Bürger argues began with the European avant-gardes of the 1920s and ended with their incorporation into the canons and institutions of high art.4 He cites Happenings—the art practice for which Kaprow is most famous—as the epitome of post-avant-garde naivety. Art, after the institutionalization of the historical avant-garde, “can either resign itself to its autonomous status or ‘organize happenings’ to break through that status. But without surrendering its claim to truth, art cannot simply deny the autonomy status and pretend that it has a direct effect”.5

In response to Bürger’s historicism, Hal Foster theorized and described the “delayed temporality” and critical return of the avant-garde rupture in radical art of the 1960s–1980s, demonstrating the ways in which the questions and concerns of the historical avant-garde were reformulated in post-war art.6 While Foster reframes Bürger’s dismissal of the neo-avant-garde as empty repetition, arguing that such recuperation was necessary in order to bring the fundamental, self-critical questions of the historical avant-garde to light within art-world discourse and practice, the accounts of Kaprow’s work offered by the two scholars are strikingly similar. For Foster, Kaprow’s work stands as an example of the “first neo-avant-garde”: a “hysterical” repetition of the “abstract and anarchic” techniques and ideas of the historical avant-garde—particularly Dada—that opens them up for critique and development by a more sophisticated “second neo-avant-garde”.7

While Kaprow is thus often posited as the key proponent of a generalized and uncritical fusion of art and life in mid-century American art, recent scholarship has begun to explore his approach to these categories in more detail. In Experience, Change and Chance: Allan Kaprow and the Tension between Art and Life 1948–1976 (2015), Chay Allan elaborates the formal strategies that animated Kaprow’s approach to the two categories, tracing in particular the ongoing balance between “regulation and permissiveness”, or form and indeterminacy, through which these ideas were explored.8 Alex Potts situates Kaprow’s interest in daily life not as an uncritical repetition of the techniques of the historical avant-garde, but as a critique of the myth of artistic heroism and autonomy that underpinned Abstract Expressionism, and that was rendered increasingly untenable by the developing celebrity around the figure of the artist and the lucrative commodity status of their work in the late 1950s. Kaprow’s interest in the spaces and actions of daily life is framed as a critical attempt to make “of art something other than it was, a non-art-art, existing in the gap created by displacing art as it actually existed in modern consumer society […] from the artist’s arena of performance”.9

This paper contributes to such attempts to more closely account for both the formal strategies and the critical potential of the art/life relation in Kaprow’s work through consideration of one practice in his career, the Happenings of the 1960s.10 Rather than an attempt to fuse art and life, I suggest, Kaprow’s Happenings developed into increasingly complex, branching and networked structures, capable of staging a plurality of interactions between work and world and offering critical insight into both categories. This structural complexity might be usefully illustrated through the metaphor of the rhizome. Originally describing the proliferations of roots and fungi, the term was used by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari to describe networks which refuse bounded, hierarchical orders of meaning in favour of a connective, branching and irreconcilably heterogeneous structure. Throughout the 1960s, Kaprow increasingly rejected the dominant conception of a work of art as “a static object with a single, prescribed signification that is communicated unproblematically […] from the maker to an alert, knowledgeable, universalized viewer”.11 In its place he experimented with the open-ended dispersal of agency and meaning described by the rhizome in which, through the enactments for which each Happening was scored, it entered into a number of heterogeneous and irreconcilable encounters with 1960s America. This paper elaborates Kaprow’s use of this innovative structure, using it as a framework through which to rethink the formulation of, and encounters between, art and life in three Happenings.

1 Ephemerality, Documentation, Archive

This reading of Kaprow’s Happenings involves paying critical attention to the ontological complexity of these works, and to the sources through which they are accessed. In the early years of the 1960s, Kaprow’s writings frequently emphasized the importance of ephemerality to his project, in which Happenings “exist for a single performance, or only a few, and are gone forever as new ones take their place”.12 This stance foreshadows early theorizations of performance art such as Peggy Phelan’s Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (1993), in which performance is aligned with presence: a momentary, non-repeatable plunge “into visibility”, which “disappears into memory, into the realm of invisibility where it eludes regulation and control”.13 Kaprow’s early writings such as “Happenings in the New York Scene” (1961) perform such unknowability. The description of a Happening that opens the article is a composite of elements from real and imagined Happenings, and Kaprow argues that “to the extent that a Happening is not a commodity but a brief event”, it will mutate, after its enactment, into a “myth [that] grows on its own”.14

Phelan’s emphasis on the ephemeral, interactional moment of performance has been challenged by subsequent scholarship on works that disappear after their enactment. Such scholarship has focused instead on the role and significance of documentation as the medium through which ephemeral works reach the majority of their audiences. Building upon Amelia Jones’s observation that performance is “dependen[t] on documentation to attain symbolic status within the realm of culture”, Philip Auslander has argued that that the documentation of a performance as a coherent entity—the “final product through which [the work] will be circulated and with which it will inevitably become identified”—is of greater importance than the experience of the primary audience:15

The purpose of most performance art documentation is to make the artist’s work available to a larger audience, not to capture the performance as an ‘interactional accomplishment’ to which a specific audience and a specific set of performers coming together in specific circumstances make equally significant contributions […] Performance art documentation participates in the fine art tradition of the reproduction of works rather than the ethnographic tradition of capturing events.16

In Auslander’s account, documentation becomes a vehicle for the communication of an artist’s vision, offering a straightforward replacement for the framed canvas or coherent object as the completed “whole” of the work.

This critical turn from ephemerality towards documentation is also foreshadowed in the development of Kaprow’s practice. As the 1960s progressed, Kaprow became increasingly interested in the documentation of his Happenings, and their reception beyond their initial “plunge into visibility”. From 1965, Kaprow began to publish accounts and scores of Happenings in scholarly journals, most often the Tulane Drama Review (henceforth TDR). From 1967, as the scores became more concise, he produced posters which both advertised and became the official documentation of a given Happening. As Potts observes, “Kaprow’s writings were not just commentaries on his practice. They were integral to his art, and in an important sense they constituted what it meant for a larger public”.17

While documentation became increasingly significant to Kaprow’s Happenings project, Auslander’s account of an artist’s documentation as a coherent “work” in itself offers a particularly limiting account of these works, directing attention to only one strand in the networked complexity of any given Happening. From the mid-1960s, Kaprow became increasingly interested in participant accounts of his events, often writing the act of documentation into his scores of the late 1960s. Such participant accounts remain largely unpublished, and thus play a minimal role in the critical reception of Kaprow’s works. Some are housed alongside the artist’s notes in the Allan Kaprow Papers archived at the Getty Research Institute. In contrast to the published documentation of the Happenings, these accounts record the specific and pluralized meanings that emerged in the interactions between Kaprow’s scores, the contexts for which they were written, and the bodies in which they were performed. In doing so they provide a particularly useful resource for rethinking the relationship(s) between art and life that emerged in these works. When read through these rhizomatic traces of their enactments, ‘life’ in these works emerges not as an abstract or generalized category, but rather as the dynamic and unpredictable realm of specific social, and even political, experience which is engaged in dialogue through Kaprow’s scores. Moreover, we will see that as well as offering insight into the social world of 1960s America, the pluralized interactions between Kaprow’s Happenings and his society also pose complex questions about the social role and meaning of the category ‘art’ at the time.

2 Expanding the Frame in Kaprow’s Early Works

The rethinking of the nature of the work of art and its relationship to the world around it that developed in American art in the wake of Abstract Expressionism included a number of diverse techniques and approaches. While Kaprow engaged in many of these experiments and debates, his work of the late 1950s was closely concerned with questions around the structure and boundaries of a work of art. Amelia Jones has observed that the dominant ontological paradigm of the mid-century art world was epitomized and symbolized in the physical entity of the frame, which delimits the borders of the work of art as a site of meaning, creating a physical and metaphorical boundary between the work and the rest of life.18 This ontological metaphor was central to the work of a number of artists of the late 1950s and early 1960s who returned to the question of the relationship between art and life as a means to move beyond the stylistic dominance of Abstract Expressionism.19 “Neo-Dada” is defined by Günter Berghaus as a style in which “life invades art in the form of fragments of reality, torn from their usual contexts”.20 In his famous account of “assemblage”, William Seitz described “physical materials and their auras” drawn from the world and “transmuted into a new amalgam that both transcends and includes its parts”.21 While the media and content of these styles present a radical break with the painterly tradition, the ontological structure which delimits and defines the work remains intact: elements of life are transmuted into the frame of art.

This is a structure that Kaprow engaged critically and experimentally. He first explored the question in “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock”, published in ARTnews in 1958. While the essay is perhaps most famous for its final paragraphs describing the “spaces and objects of our everyday life” that will become “materials for the new art”, which foreshadows the rise of assemblage and Pop, it is also raises structural questions that became central to Kaprow’s practice.22 When looking at a Pollock painting, Kaprow suggests, old certainties about the boundaries between the work and the world beyond it are challenged. This is due primarily to the mural size of Pollock’s canvases and his technique of all-over pattern. Pollock abandons “the usual idea of ‘Form’, i.e., a beginning, middle and end, or any variation of this principle—such as fragmentation. We do not enter a Pollock painting in any one place […] Anywhere is everywhere, and we dip in and out where we can”.23 Pollock “ignored the rectangular field in favor of a continuum going in all directions simultaneously, beyond the literal dimensions of any work”.24 The effect of this, Kaprow suggests, is a jarring awareness of the relationship between work and world: “the four sides of the painting are […] an abrupt leaving off of activity, which our imaginations continue outward indefinitely, as though refusing to accept the artificiality of an ending”.25 Pollock’s paintings both draw attention to, and begin to undermine, the ontology of the frame that structures the relationship between the work, the spectator and the viewing context.

Jonathan Kaizen has explored the way in which the structural integrity of the frame highlighted in “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock” remained essential to Kaprow’s early Environments and Happenings. The implications of the essay were most concretely realized in the two Untitled Environments that Kaprow produced at the Hansa Gallery in 1958, filling the gallery space with mundane materials—cellophane, plastic, foil—hung in labyrinthine structures which spectators were invited to navigate. In their three-dimensionality, these works literalize Kaprow’s observation that Pollock’s paintings seem to be “continued out into the room”.26 The Environments also brought together two of the major ways in which ‘life’ was conceptualized in the art of the period: as objects from the world, and in temporalities and indeterminacies, introduced through the movement of spectators. As Kaizen observes, however, the structure of the frame—marking the beginning and end of the experience that is ‘art’—remained central to this work. This is reflected in the language of Kaprow’s monograph, Assemblages, Environments and Happenings—published in 1966 but largely written in the late 1950s—which describes the environment precisely in terms of the “field” that was “ignored” by Pollock.27 In this account, the clearly demarcated space of a painting is replaced by the clearly demarcated space of the gallery, and anything that happens within it becomes art.28 Kaizen elaborates the ways in which Kaprow’s early Happenings continued to operate within a clearly defined—if broadened—field: “If painting had used the frame as the delimitation of a field of composition, then happenings and environments turned the gallery into the limit condition of this field”.29

From 1962, Kaprow began to produce Happenings that took place outside the confines of the gallery space. The earliest of these works were coherently bound in a single space and time, and often involved only invited audience members or participants. In this way they imported the framing structures of the canvas or gallery into other locations. From the mid-1960s, however, Kaprow began to develop new structural strategies that provided a way beyond the organizing principle of the frame, and brought art and life into new forms of dialogue and interaction. The following case studies explore the construction, and the implications, of these developing, rhizomatic structures.

3 From Frame to Rhizome: Calling (1965)

Calling was first performed in 1965. While Kaprow had previously organized Happenings in conjunction with universities and arts festivals, Calling was not sponsored—or otherwise framed—by any organization. Advertisements for the event invited interested participants to call Kaprow directly between scheduled hours.30 Participants—many of them artists and friends of Kaprow—were assigned roles in a scenario and the Happening was set into action.31 On Saturday, August 21, 1965, three participants were picked up from a roadside in New York, wrapped in aluminium foil and driven to a public parking meter. The drivers of the cars were replaced and the packaged participants were unwrapped from the foil and rewrapped in laundry bags. Packaged participants were then driven and dumped at a “public garage”.32 They were picked up by a second car, driven to New York’s Grand Central Station and abandoned, propped up against the information booth there. The three wrapped participants then began to call out one another’s names while freeing themselves from their laundry bags. Once free, they went to a public telephone booth to call one of the other participants in the Happening. The person on the other end of the phone answered but remained silent. The second day of the Happening took place in the woods of George Segal’s farm and enacted a different version of the kidnap scenario.

As Philip Ursprung observes, the experience of participating in the event must have been profound and complex:

How must the performers have felt as the others were encasing them in foil? How must they have felt as they were driven blindfolded through New York? What was it like to be tied up in a sack and exposed to the stares of thousands of commuters hurrying across the concourse at Grand Central Station?33

This focus on affect continues an exploration of subjective, embodied spectatorship that Kaprow developed throughout his Happenings of the early 1960s.34 In addition to this, the work also produced other audiences. Central Station is “surely the busiest place in all of North America”, and Kaprow’s decision to set one of the most striking images of his Happening there worked to ensure an audience for his event as much as did the official guest lists and invitations he prepared for his earliest Happening, 18 Happenings in 6 Parts.35 What is significant and unusual about the audience that Kaprow manufactured for Calling, however, is that this audience was unaware of what they were witnessing: was it kidnapping, advertising campaign, theatre rehearsal, work of art?36 In this way Calling inverts the techniques that were central to neo-Dada or assemblage. While such works brought objects or temporalities from daily life into the sphere of art, Kaprow took the events of his Happenings into an undifferentiated space outside of art’s interpretive frameworks.

Kaprow published an account of Calling in the 1965 issue of TDR. This official documentation of the work, preserved in an academic journal, consists of the instructions for the Happening and a brief overview by the artist of its enactment on the August weekend. Both forms of documentation offer an ostensibly objective or bird’s-eye description of the activities involved, and align with Auslander’s description of performance documentation as a coherent whole which stands in for an ephemeral event. While the scholarly tone of the article, its presence in an influential journal, and the fact that it was written by Kaprow suggest that it offers a privileged insight into Calling, however, the article begins with a paradox that gestures towards the complex structure of the work. While the article is directed towards a scholarly audience who had not witnessed the original, its opening description of Calling as “a Happening for performers only” curiously undercuts the value of the documentary account, which excludes the intense, embodied and individual experiences of the participants.37

So too does this account exclude the experiences and understandings of the audience that was created through Kaprow’s choice to set the work in Grand Central Station, who encountered it without the interpretive framework of ‘art’. Kaprow’s account gives only a passing mention to the unsuspecting audiences who witnessed his Happening in the public spaces and streets of New York, and scholarship on the event has paid them scant attention. Photographs of the event by Peter Moore that accompanied the article, however, give these audiences a significant place in the documentation of Calling, showing commuters grouped around the bundled bodies on the floor of the station. Calling is thus not unproblematically summarized and contained by Kaprow’s account in TDR but is, rather, a work that existed in a plurality of incompatible ways: for its participants as embodied and physical forms of (artistic) practice; for the crowds at Grand Central Station as a mysterious or interesting, but unclassified, experience; and for the readers of TDR as a coherent work of art. Approached in this way, its structure emerges as a network of irreconcilable encounters, experiences and interpretations which intersect, connect and juxtapose the categories of ‘art’ and ‘life’. This is a structure that Kaprow continued to develop, and the possibilities of which he continued to explore, throughout the 1960s.

4 The Rhizomatic Possibilities of the Score: Self-Service (1966)

The networked structure that underpins Calling was further developed in a second Happening of the mid-1960s. Self-Service took place over a four-month period, from June to September 1966, across three major American cities: New York, Los Angeles and Boston. The work is preserved in a TDR article from 1968 in the form of the instructions for the work, which consist of a number of short, poetic directions offered for enactment in each city. In Self-Service, the rhizomatic structure that I have argued underpins Calling was made more explicit in Kaprow’s article. Although this document collects together all of the instructions, the spatial and temporal dispersal of the Happening render an all-encompassing understanding or experience of the work impossible, and unlike with Calling, the TDR article does not include Kaprow’s description of the work in performance.

While the instructions for Calling were complex and required a great deal of prior organization, the short, self-contained directions of Self-Service align the work with the form of the ‘event score’—short “instruction-like texts proposing one or more actions”—that gained popularity in the late 1950s and 1960s, particularly among artists who had studied Experimental Composition with John Cage, and that became important to the practice of Fluxus.38 A central feature of the event score is that it is enduringly future-oriented, open to the world and to a plurality of possible enactments.39 It functions, writes Julia Robinson, as a “matrix delimiting a […] sphere of artistic action within whose interstices each new interpreter could insert their own highly subjective response to the given propositions”.40 One instruction in Self-Service, for example, reads: “People stand on bridges, on street corners, watch cars pass. After 200 red ones, they leave”.41 While its instructions are clear, this description leaves a great deal of scope for the participants to decide, for example, which and how many bridges or street corners they will wait at, as well as at what point within the month, and with whom, they will enact the event. Each enactment of this simple, two-sentence event opens up its own microcosm of plans, interactions, experiences and meanings.

Alongside the plurality of enactments opened up by the form of the perpetually incomplete, future-oriented score, however, also comes a new form of specificity. As Robinson observes, “For any realization, an Event score […] requires a subject, much more emphatically than a painting requires a viewer […] to be filled with meaning”.42 Each enactment of a score develops its meaning in the specific interaction of action, performer and context in which it is remade. This mode of meaning-making is particularly important in relation to Self -Service, which, unlike the Fluxus event score, specifies a particular context for its enactment. The actions of the score are described by Kaprow as designed to take place “among those of the participants’ normal life”, further extending the technique of moving art into the undifferentiated spaces of the world explored in Calling.43 While Auslander has argued that the interest of performance documentation lies not in “the performance as an ‘interactional accomplishment’ ”, the meaning of each instruction of Self-Service necessarily developed in the relationship between the scored action and the highly specific circumstances of each participant’s life.44

Moreover, the instructions of Self-Service were written to be performed in the very specific context of American urban centres in the mid-1960s, and this context is reflected in the imagery and actions they describe. While the scored actions may internally appear generalized and unspecific, they accrue more complex meaning when placed within the context of their initial enactment. One instruction reads: “On the street, kids give paper flowers to people with pleasant faces”.45 While the direction we encounter in Kaprow’s score is ostensibly apolitical and, indeed, rather sweet, its meaning in the context of a mid-1960s American city street is more complicated. In 1965, the poet Allen Ginsberg published a manifesto in response to a clash between anti-war protesters and pro-war Hells Angels. “Demonstration or Spectacle as Example, as Communication, or How to Make a March/Spectacle” described protest not as a replication of violence, but as “spectacle”, advocating the confrontation of violence with “masses of flowers”.46 The image of the flower quickly became an important and enduring symbol of anti-war protest and countercultural politics in 1960s America. While absent in a casual reading of Kaprow’s script, it is likely that this politically charged meaning would emerge through the enactments of the simple instruction on the streets of New York, Los Angeles and Boston, situating performers within and, indeed, asking them to stage a performance of, an ongoing political discourse.

5 Self-Service in the Archive

As the above example suggests, Kaprow’s Happenings are not contained or comprehended only through the artist’s scores, but must rather be understood as a network of meanings which emerge in the interaction between the score and specific located and embodied enactments. By the mid-1960s, Kaprow was increasingly interested in the accounts and experiences of his participants. Although it was not included in the score, as it was to be in later works, Kaprow requested that participants in Self-Service write to him about their experience of the work. The Allan Kaprow Papers archive contains two participant accounts of Self-Service, by Fluxus artists Geoff and Bici Hendricks. The two performed the event “Couples make love in hotel rooms. Before they check out, they cover everything with large sheets of black plastic”.47 Their accounts reveal some of the multiple and pluralized ways in which this event traversed and created meaning between the boundaries of art and the specificities, circumstances and demands of individual lives.

Geoff Hendricks’ account describes his enactment of Kaprow’s instruction from an art-based perspective. He describes, for example, his initial choice to enact the instruction in a high-rise hotel overlooking the Hudson River as due to “my interest in sky and water?”, and his fairly brief description of the event is followed by a section entitled “Contrasts” in which he observes, for example, that “ ‘love making in the day […] black plastic covering at night’ is reminding me of an analysis I made to my students of your [Kaprow’s] collage The Old Timer; there was a related interplay of parts”.48 He also observes “the rawness and transformation of [Claes] Oldenburg’s Store came to mind—the contrasts in your first environment at the Hansa gallery, the tarpaper towel in your Courtyard Happening all came to mind”.49 Geoff’s account of his own rhizomic strand of Self-Service defines and understands the event largely through the terminology and framework of ‘art’. The artistic resonances of the enactment, in Geoff’s account, are of more significance than the interactions or tensions between the work and the social context in which it was performed.

The account of the same enactment offered by Bici Hendricks, however, offers a very different perspective on the work, setting Kaprow’s instruction much more closely within the fabric of her day. Her account of Sunday, June 19, 1966, on which the couple performed Kaprow’s instruction, begins “woke at Ty’s cry ca. 10am”, and the practice and concerns of childcare are woven through her description.50 Bici’s description of the trip to the hotel also recalls the errands she incorporated into the event—she took along a check to cash at a drugstore, and envelopes to stuff for a Fluxus work she was in the process of creating. Her description of the time spent in the hotel room (“talked, read NYT Mag & started double crostic. Made love”) concludes again with the practical concern “Hurried to get to sitter by 7pm”.51 Thus, Bici’s account reveals the way in which Kaprow’s event butted up against, impacted upon and became inextricably, intimately intertwined with the daily lives of its participants.

The comparison of the two accounts of the event also sheds interesting light on the gender politics of the 1960s art world. While both members of the couple were artists associated with the Fluxus movement, Bici’s account of the work is much less able to separate her enactment of the event from the other pressures and tasks of her day, most notably, motherhood. The distinction that emerges through these two accounts—in which the male artist is able to place the mental frame of ‘art’ around his enactment while the female artist’s account includes within it duties and expectations associated with her gender role—foreshadows the critique made by feminist art of the 1970s that the presumed universality and humanism of the category ‘art’ was, in fact, based on the universalization of a specifically (white, middle-class, heterosexual) male experience.

Bici’s description of the second part of Kaprow’s instruction also differs significantly from that of her husband. While Geoff briefly describes the formal and aesthetic choices involved in spreading the black plastic—“we covered the mirror first […] in the bathroom we spread white towels over the fixtures—white vs black”—Bici’s account dwells much more heavily on the social, practical and emotional implications of this strange act in a hotel room.52 She writes:

GH very interested in savouring the moment and the visual impact. BFH hit very hard by symbolism and possible consequences (police?) (chambermaids have heart attack from the shock? Fingerprints?) […] Finishing room, GH wanted to linger and have a drink. BFH feeling physically sickened. Sense of dread. Insisted on leaving. Afraid of leaving some personal item behind under the plastic by mistake.53

Bici’s description highlights, in a way in which both the account of her husband and the dominant art-historical reading of the work do not, how the events of Self-Service interwove and interacted with the wider social world in which they took place. Indeed, in her concern for the reception and social fate of her work—who will clean it up, how will it impact upon them?—Bici’s account flips the terms of the art/life debate as it was formulated in neo-Dada, and in the account of her husband.Here, rather than the stuff of life invigorating and revitalizing the work of art, the focus moves to how this work functions, and might function, in the world.

Thus, the accounts of Geoff and Bici Hendricks demonstrate that Kaprow’s Happenings addressed the question of the relationship between art and life not only—and certainly not most interestingly—in the artist’s scores, but also in the specific moments, contexts and bodies in which the two categories collided; and as multiple specific enactments of the work opened up new meanings and connections between artistic, social and personal concerns. Each enactment places ‘art’ in juxtaposition and dialogue with social and embodied specificities that can facilitate fresh critical perspectives on the way in which the category was defined and understood. In Geoff’s account—as in Seitz’s account of assemblage—the stuff of life is smoothly transmuted into art, while in Bici’s account the specificities of her embodied, gendered experience render the relationship between the two uncomfortable and fraught, a discomfort which opens space for critical reflection.

6 Specificity and Substitutability: Six Ordinary Happenings (1969)

The technique of the score offers an “endlessly substitutable” art form that can be repeated anywhere, at any time.54 I have suggested, however, that the interest of Kaprow’s Happenings emerges not only in their reproducibility, but also in the specificities of their enactments. As we have seen, most of Kaprow’s Happenings of the 1960s were written for a specified context that is engaged in the imagery of his scores. This oscillation between contextual specificity and the endless substitutability of the score is particularly evident in a set of Happenings that Kaprow produced at the end of the 1960s, in collaboration with the Berkeley public schools system. Six Ordinary Happenings were scored by Kaprow as a part of Project Other Ways, a pilot education scheme organized by Kaprow and educational theorist Herbert Kohl in the Berkeley Unified School District in the academic year between September 1968 and June 1969.

Project Other Ways is described in an archived pamphlet as “a series of experiments in the teaching of the arts in the Berkeley Unified School District”.55 The Six Ordinary Happenings were developed in Kaprow’s own workshops with the students. Like the Happenings described above, each of the performances took place not within the walls of the classroom, but out on the city streets of Berkeley. As in Self-Service, the work is characterized by short, telegrammatic scores that posit some form of interaction with the surrounding environment, and open into a plurality of experiences and meanings. The official documentation for Six Ordinary Happenings is a poster of the same name, which contains the scores of the works and some photographs of their enactment by the students. While it was produced after the Happenings had been performed and is illustrated by the photographs that students produced during the performances, the poster is both written in the present continuous tense and underpinned by the instruction: “Those interested in participating in all or any should attend the preliminary meetings”.56 In their presentation on the poster, the scores of the Six Ordinary Happenings are thus freed from any specific context and offered up for re-enactment and reinterpretation by any interested party and in any context. The work was also included in the calendar “Days Off” that Kaprow produced in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1969. Catherine Spencer observes that the calendar presents photographic documentation of past Happenings not as fixed relics, but as traces and prompts towards enactment on the part of the reader, “open to repetitions, returns and reinventions”.57 This technique emphasizes the future-oriented, “endlessly substitutable” nature of the score, gesturing towards a potentially infinite set of enactments and negotiations between this work and participants’ lives.58

This reading is complicated, however, when the content of Kaprow’s scores is read in relation to the context for which they were produced and in which they were first performed. The headquarters of Project Other Ways were located in a storefront on Grove Street that teachers and classes, as well as individual students, were invited to visit. Spencer notes that the street had long acted as a marker of racialized social division in the area, “forming an unofficial border between the white and black areas of the city”.59 While all students were welcome at the Other Ways storefront, an essay that Kaprow wrote years later for Suzanne Lacey’s Mapping the Terrain, entitled “Success and Failure when Art Changes”, suggests that a number of the children who were most intimately involved in the project were those who were not achieving highly under the school system. Kaprow describes, for example, one sixth grade class that came to the project’s storefront. This class “were considered unteachable illiterates. I forget the official label, but it was enough to sentence them to permeant societal rejection”.60 He also observes that “the majority” of the participating students “were black or Hispanic”, a factor which Kohl’s 36 Children (1967) suggested contributed to ostracization, alienation and discrimination within the public school system.61

The environment of the California Bay area in 1968–1969, within which Project Other Ways took place, was a site of a multifaceted political unrest. Describing the town during his time there, Kaprow recalled scenes of “massive social upheaval, and armed forces were everywhere”.62 The University of California at Berkeley had been the site of numerous student protests during the 1960s, beginning with the 1964 Free Speech Movement against the paternalism and policing of student politics by the university. In February 1969, then state governor Ronald Reagan issued a “state of emergency” which allowed state police onto the university campus to disperse members of the Third World Liberation Front, who had organized a mass student strike and protest demanding the establishment of a Third World College with a diverse curriculum and staff. Police tactics to supress the strike quickly escalated in violence, described by The Daily Cal newspaper as a “reign of terror”.63

In addition to this, the Black Panther Party (BPP) was founded in neighbouring Oakland in 1966. The public profile of the Panthers was particularly high in Oakland and Berkeley in 1968–1969 due to the campaign mobilized against the arrest and charging of founder Huey Newton following the death of a policeman in 1967.64 During this campaign, the BPP cultivated a high public profile and joined forces with other radical movements such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Peace and Freedom Party. “ ‘Free Huey’ became a rallying cry for radicals across the globe […] and transformed the BPP into one of the most visible political organizations of the era[.]”65 In August 1968, just before the commencement of Project Other Ways, the Panthers staged a large public rally to free Newton in Oakland, bringing their cause to the attention of both a broader public and the mass media. When Newton was tried at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland later that year, the trial became “a focal point for activists, the police, the media and the wider community”.66 Indeed, Grove Street was not only the headquarters of Project Other Ways, but also of the BPP in Oakland. When Newton was charged in September 1968 with “involuntary manslaughter” rather than murder, two officers of the Berkeley Police Department chose to publicly demonstrate their anger at the verdict by firing a round of bullets into the Panthers’ Grove Street headquarters.67

While Kaprow has claimed that “our activities rarely addressed the conflict directly”, the Six Ordinary Happenings, in fact, reveal a close, politicized relation to the events in Berkeley. The script of Shape, for example, describes actions that draw indirectly upon the politically charged atmosphere of the city as well as the marginalized identity of the students.

The instructions read:

Shoes, bodies,
On streets, sidewalks, fields
Spray painting their silhouette
Reports and photos in the newspaper.68

A newspaper account of the event published in The Oakland Tribune, in which Kaprow is quoted, describes the Happening in neutral and existential terms as an exploration of “the distress felt in growing older and insights into the difficulty of trying to leave a mark on an increasingly complex world”.69 It describes a student spray-painting a silhouette onto the sand of the beach and the inevitable observation that “it won’t last very long. The young man thus, rather poignantly and symbolically, learned something of the impermanence of life and began to consider what to do about it”.70

Much of the imagery created by this event and evidenced in archival photographs, by contrast, is much more politically charged. Spray-painted silhouettes of bodies suggest death through violence, and gesture towards the police, whose role involves the silhouetting of bodies at a crime scene. The children performing the event covered themselves in plastic when being silhouetted on the ground. While this was presumably a precaution taken to keep their clothes clean, this imagery makes the photographs documenting the event look doubly sinister, evoking body bags. Within the context of Berkeley in the late 1960s, this imagery gestures persistently towards the violence taking place on the streets, and particularly towards the persecution of the black community by the police highlighted through the work of the BPP. While the activities scripted by the Happening produced such politically charged meanings, so too did some of the students politicize the score in other ways. Alongside the sinister photos of supine children, the calendar Days Off that Kaprow produced with MoMA, which contains some documentation of Shape, includes the silhouetted raised fist of Black Power. Thus, while Kaprow’s score itself contains no direct political signifiers, it seems likely that the instructions were tailored to fit and to accrue meaning within the specific political context of its performance and participants. Not only, as Spencer observes, do the photographs “channel the increasingly ‘off kilter’ and ‘poisoned’ atmosphere” in which they were produced, but, like the enactment of anti-war protest in the flowers of Self-Service, the instructions of Kaprow’s score and the photographs that they produced take a position within the ongoing tensions between local communities and the police.71

The score of Shape also addresses the question of art documentation. The final instruction reads: “Reports and photos in the newspaper”. In this way not only the artist, but the participants, are made responsible for the documentation of the event. This is a technique that was explored in many of Kaprow’s Happenings from the late 1960s, one which decenters the production of documentation in ways that problematize Auslander’s account of documentation as a vehicle for the communication of an artist’s vision. Moreover, Shape builds not only the production, but also the dissemination of performance documentation, into the work itself. The photographic documentation of this Happening is not disseminated within the narrow confines of the classroom community or the institutions of the art world; nor is it set aside to await future scholars in an archive. Rather, the score requires that the documentation of Shape is spread through “reports and photos in the newspaper”. Through this final instruction, the participants in Shape are asked to actively facilitate the rhizomatic spread of the work into the world through its traces. In this case, the odd, emotive images of supine children covered in plastic and crime scene-like silhouettes are spread, through their publication in newspapers, beyond the immediate circumstances of the event and throughout the students’ communities.72

Perhaps the most politically charged of the Six Ordinary Happenings is Fine!. The score reads:

Parking cars in restricted zones
Waiting nearby for cop
Snapshot of getting ticket
Detailed report
Sending pix, reports, fines, to cops.73

Chay Allan describes this Happening as a playful subversion of the experience of getting a parking ticket:

Making the transgression of parking violations a condition of completing the task emptied the event of the frustration usually met with receiving a parking ticket and neutralized the supposed enforcement that followed, the inevitability of which changed the event from punishment to farce. Imitation for Kaprow was an open-ended solution to education and a potential disruption to what it meant to educate; it was education in playing at life as preparation for functioning in it.74

While this description draws upon common characteristics of Kaprow’s practice and ideas expressed in his writings about Project Other Ways, it ignores the fraught context for which the score was written and in which the Happening was performed.

As Allan observes, the Happening invites its school-aged participants to commit a real, if minor, misdemeanour, parking their car in a restricted zone. On the streets of Berkeley, in which the relationship of both students and the black community with the police was a source of scrutiny, tension and violence, such a minor misdemeanor was a politically charged act. Moreover, the action of this Happening bears a striking resemblance to one of the important activities of the BPP in Oakland. The BPP originally

focused its energies on opposing police brutality in Oakland’s inner city and similar local neighbourhoods. Attracting a small but committed membership, it conducted a sequence of armed police patrols that unnerved the Oakland Police Department while alerting locals to their rights as citizens under arrest.75

As well as the practical, physical protection brought about by the presence of the patrols, this aspect of the Panthers’ practice also operated “in the realm of symbolic politics”.76 On the symbolic level,

[t]he BPP has been able to perform skilful cultural reversals that brought into question some of the most fundamental beliefs about law and order and social hierarchy. Their practice of ‘policing the police’ […] asked questions such as: who rules? by what means? […] It made possible new ways of thinking for the Black community who suddenly stopped seeing themselves in the way the institutions of state power would have them do.77

The observation, photography and report writing about “the cops” written into Fine! reflects, quite closely, the subversive scrutiny of authority embodied in the Black Panther practice of “policing the police”.

Such reversals of authority are evident in the “reports” that the students produced when taking part in Fine!. One report observes the lack of police attention to “crimes” such as “panhandling” and the various illegally parked cars. When a “meter maid” does finally arrive, the participant observes that “her choice of lipstick is poor (off pink)”.78 The report also observes an inaccuracy in the official’s final report: “there is a time discrepancy meter maid marked time of giving ticket as 12.05 on citation I have time marked 12.10”.79 The subversive scrutiny of authority enacted in Fine! partakes—in a microcosmic way—in the same symbolic politics of power reversal that characterize the “police patrols” of the Black Panthers in Oakland. As if to exemplify this influence in Kaprow’s score, one of the reports observes that leader of the BPP “Eldridge Cleaver passes with scowling face”.80

Once again, the dissemination of performance documentation is central to the meaning and functioning of this Happening. Far from functioning primarily to present the Happening to a secondary art-world audience, the reports and “pix” sent to “the cops” complete the cycle of the polite but pointed reversal of power that is enacted in Fine!. As with Shape and the newspapers, there is no evidence of this final interaction between students and “cops” archived in the Allan Kaprow Papers, but the presence of the instruction within the score offers the opportunity to reflect upon the very specific, located interactions between work and world that it might have prompted. It begs the question, perhaps, of the way in which the frame of a state-sponsored art project might have changed the power relations and the nature of the interaction between police and students.

Thus, the Six Ordinary Happenings stage two very different possibilities for the interaction between art and life. The official documentation of the score stages an open-ended orientation towards future enactment, a potentialized and generalized interaction with ‘life’. When returned to the context that hovers just beneath the words of Kaprow’s scores and the photographic traces of the event, however, the work emerges simultaneously as a specific, located, and complexly politicized mode of artistic engagement with the world. Read in this way, Kaprow’s poster becomes a palimpsest, the contextual specificity of his scores and their initial enactment partly erased by, but present beneath, the present continuous tense in which they are addressed to a future viewer/participant. This palimpsest both highlights and enacts—like Bici’s account of Self-Service—the functioning of an ideology that underpinned the mid-century art world: one which makes a claim to artistic universality only by ignoring the differences and specificities of lived experiences, particularly those that fall outside of the presumed universality of white masculinity. This issue becomes particularly pointed in relation to works such as Fine!, which, when read through its context of enactment, poses complex ethical questions about the aestheticization, and subsequent elision, of such an important political struggle, particularly in the work of a white artist.

This paper opened with the designations of Kaprow’s work as an uncritical, generalized attempt to bring together art and life. As we have seen, however, Kaprow’s Happenings do not attempt to uncritically collapse the difference between the two categories, nor do they employ ‘life’ as a technique to broaden and revitalize the category ‘art’. Rather, the Happening developed a complex networked, or rhizomatic, structure that produced a number of simultaneous interactions between the work of art and the world around it. This structure was shaped through the multiplying of audience and participant perspectives, temporal and spatial dispersal, and the encouragement of participant documentation and its distribution. When approached not only through Kaprow’s published documentation but through the network of traces that they produced, and when set in the contexts for which they were written, Kaprow’s Happenings can be seen to stage multiple juxtapositions between the category ‘art’ and the specificities of lived experience, opening up fresh opportunities for critical consideration of both categories, and of their various possible interactions. These works were not an “anarchic and abstract” attempt to fuse art and life, but were rather sites which staged specific and multifarious encounters between the two.81

1

Stephanie Rosenthal, “Agency for Action”, in Allan Kaprow: Art as Life, eds. Eva Meyer-Hermann, Andrew Perchuk and Stephanie Rosenthal (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008), 56–72, 57.

2

Hopkins, “ ‘Art’ and ‘Life’ … and Death: Marcel Duchamp, David Morris and Neo-Avant-Garde Irony”, in Neo-Avant-Garde, ed. David Hopkins (Amsterdam: Rodopi B.V, 2006), 33. See also Darko Suvin, “Reflections on Happenings”, in Happenings and Other Acts, ed. Mariellen R. Sandford (London: Routledge, 1995), 285–309.

3

Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, trans. Michael Shaw (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 49. The ‘historical avant-garde’ is so named because at his time of writing, Bürger considered the avant-garde project already failed.

4

Bürger’s account pays little attention to Russian avant-gardes of the early twentieth century, and their approach to these questions.

5

Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, 57.

6

Hal Foster, The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996), 10.

7

Ibid., 20–21.

8

Chay Allan, Experience, Change and Chance: Allan Kaprow and the Tension between Art and Life 1948–1976, PhD thesis (University of Oxford, 2015), 8.

9

Alex Potts, “Autonomy in Post-war Art, Quasi-heroic and Casual”, Oxford Art Journal 27.1 (2004): 45–59, 52.

10

I follow Kaprow in capitalizing the term. While the Happening is the form most closely connected to Kaprow’s name, in the early 1970s Kaprow moved away from using the term ‘Happening’ to describe his work. He produced a number of ‘Activities’, which tended to include smaller groups of people and to be scored to take place in private or non-specific locations. These works presented a slightly different approach to the art/life relation to those discussed in this essay.

11

Amelia Jones and Andrew Stephenson, “Introduction”, in Performing the Body/Performing the Text, eds. Amelia Jones and Andrew Stephenson (London: Routledge, 1999), 1–11, 1.

12

Allan Kaprow, “Happenings in the New York Scene”, in Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, ed. Jeff Kelley (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 15–27, 17.

13

Peggy Phelan, Unmarked: The Politics of Performance (London: Routledge, 1993), 148.

14

Kaprow, “Happenings in the New York Scene”, 26. While some photographs of these works exist, the dominant source for scholarship on Kaprow’s Happenings between 1958 and 1963 is the first-hand accounts collected by Michael Kirby in Happenings: An Illustrated Anthology (New York: Dutton, 1966).

15

Philip Auslander, “The Performativity of Performance Documentation”, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 28.3 (2006): 1–10, 3.

16

Ibid., 6.

17

Alex Potts, “Writing the Happening: The Aesthetics of Non-Art”, in Allan Kaprow: Art as Life, eds. Eva Meyer-Hermann, Andrew Perchuk and Stephanie Rosenthal (London: Thames and Hudson, 2008), 20–34, 21.

18

Amelia Jones, “Unpredictable Temporalities: The Body and Performance in (Art) History”, in Performing Archives/Archives of Performance, eds. Gunhild Borggreen and Rune Gade (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013), 53–73.

19

See Barbra Haskell, Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958–1962 (New York: Whitney Museum of America, 1984).

20

Günter Berghaus, “Neo-Dada Performance Art”, in Neo-Avant-Garde, ed. David Hopkins (Amsterdam: Rodopi B.V., 2006), 75–96, 91.

21

William Seitz, The Art of Assemblage (New York: Museum of Modern Art/Doubleday, 1961), 83.

22

Allan Kaprow, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock”, in Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life, ed. Jeff Kelley (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 1–9, 7.

23

Ibid., 5.

24

Ibid.

25

Ibid.

26

Ibid., 6.

27

Allan Kaprow, Assemblages, Environments, Happenings (New York: Abrahams Inc., 1966), 160.

28

William Kaizen, “Framed Space: Allan Kaprow and the Spread of Painting”, Grey Room 13 (2003): 80–107, 95.

29

Ibid., 99.

30

Allan Kaprow, “Calling”, in Happenings and Other Acts, ed. Mariellen R. Sandford (London: Routledge, 1995), 195–201.

31

Participants included Kaprow; his wife, Vaughan Rachel; performance scholar and editor of TDR, Mike Kirby; and Fluxus artists Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles. Jeff Kelley, Childsplay: The Art of Allan Kaprow (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), 108.

32

Kaprow, “Calling”, 195.

33

Philip Ursprung, Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art, trans. Fiona Eliott (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), 62.

34

See Mike Sell, Avant-Garde Performance and the Limits of Criticism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005), 135–165; and Gavin Butt, “Happenings in History, or, The Epistemology of Memoir”, Oxford Art Journal 24.2 (2001): 113–126.

35

Ursprung, Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art, 62.

36

Ursprung notes that in order to avoid the high fees for public theatre performances, Kaprow told the transport police that the event was a rehearsal for children’s theatre. Ursprung, Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art, 62.

37

Kaprow, “Calling”, 195. Significantly, Mike Kirby—who edited TDR and documented a number of the early Happenings in Happenings: An Anthology—was a participant in the event. The journal, however, does not contain a first-person account of Kirby’s experience.

38

Liz Kotz, “Post-Cagean Aesthetics and the ‘Event’ Score”, October 29 (2001): 54–89, 54.

39

Julia Robinson, “From Abstraction to Model: George Brecht’s Events and the Conceptual Turn in Art of the 1960s”, October 127 (2009): 77–108, 77.

40

Julia Robinson, “The Brechtian Event Score: A Structure in Fluxus”, Performance Research 7.3 (2002): 110–123, 113.

41

Allan Kaprow, “Self-Service”, in Happenings and Other Acts, ed. Mariellen R. Sandford (London: Routledge, 1995), 230–235, 231.

42

Robinson, “From Abstraction to Model”, 96.

43

Kaprow, “Self-Service”, 230.

44

Auslander, “The Performativity of Performance Documentation”, 6.

45

Ibid.

46

Allen Ginsberg, “Demonstration or Spectacle as Example, as Communication, or How to Make a March/Spectacle”, Berkeley Barb (November 19, 1965), republished in The Portable Sixties Reader, ed. Ann Charles (New York: Penguin, 2002), 208–211, 208.

47

Kaprow, “Self-Service”, 230.

48

Geoff Hendricks, written response to the performance of Self-Service, the Allan Kaprow Papers, Series VIII Box 67, Getty Research Institute Special Collections.

49

Ibid.

50

Bici Hendricks, written response to the performance of Self-Service, the Allan Kaprow Papers, Series VIII Box 67, Getty Research Institute Special Collections.

51

Ibid.

52

Geoff Hendricks, written response to the performance of Self-Service.

53

Bici Hendricks, written response to the performance of Self-Service.

54

An example of this approach to Kaprow’s work can be seen Stephanie Rosenthal and Eva Meyer-Hermann’s account of creating the retrospective exhibition, Allan Kaprow: Art as Life, which emphasizes the importance of “reinvention” to their project. They describe a two-fold exhibition, organized in collaboration with Kaprow, in which Environments, Happenings and Activities were “reinvented” by a coordinating artist and a group of participants. Rosenthal, “Agency for Action”, 65.

55

Allan Kaprow and Herbert Kohl, “Other Ways” pamphlet describing project, the Allan Kaprow Papers, Series VI.B Box 57A, Getty Research Institute Special Collections.

56

Allan Kaprow, poster for Six Ordinary Happenings, the Allan Kaprow Papers, Series III Box 16 4, Getty Research Institute Special Collections.

57

Catherine Spencer, “A Calendar of Happenings: Allan Kaprow, Counter-Chronologies and Cataloguing Performance c. 1970”, Art History 39.3 (2016): 568–599, 570.

58

Robinson, “From Abstraction to Model”, 95.

59

Catherine Spencer, Beyond the Happening: Performance Art and the Politics of Communication (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020), 44.

60

Allan Kaprow, “Success and Failure When Art Changes”, in Mapping the Terrain, ed. Suzanne Lacey (Washington: Bay Press, 1995), 152–159, 152.

61

Ibid., 154.

62

Moira Roth, “Interview with Allan Kaprow”, the Allan Kaprow Papers, Series V Box 53, Getty Research Institute Special Collections, 152.

63

U.C. Berkeley Digital Humanities, “The Berkeley Revolution”, https://revolution.berkeley.edu/projects/twlf/.

64

The conviction was finally overturned in 1970.

65

Joe Street, “ ‘Free Huey or the Sky’s the Limit’: The Black Panther Party and the Campaign to Free Huey P. Newton”, European Journal of American Studies 14.1 (2019): 1–22, 1.

66

Ibid., 3.

67

Ibid., 1.

68

Allan Kaprow, poster for Six Ordinary Happenings.

69

Noel Lieberman, “Hard Lessons the Easy Way”, The Oakland Tribune, June 4, 1969. The Allan Kaprow Papers, Series VI Box 57a.4, Getty Research Institute Special Collections.

70

Ibid.

71

Spencer, Beyond the Happening, 57.

72

In fact, the Allan Kaprow Papers contains only one newspaper report of Shape, which emphasizes the role of the Happening within an art project, includes quotations from Kaprow, and offers the generalized, existential reading of the score outlined above. The lack of evidence for the final instruction of Shape might point to a number of factors: disinterest on the part of Oakland media; on the part of the archivist; or even on Kaprow’s part when collecting together his own documentation of the event.

73

Kaprow, poster for Six Ordinary Happenings.

74

Chay Allan, “Allan Kaprow’s Radical Pedagogy”, Performance Research 21.6 (2016): 7–12, 8.

75

Street, “ ‘Free Huey or the Sky’s the Limit’ ”, 2.

76

Chloé Avril, “ ‘Why can’t y’all be like Perry Mason?’: Black Panther Autobiography Meets Crime Fiction”, Nordic Journal of English Studies 19.5 (2020): 65–96, 66–67.

77

Ibid.

78

Participant accounts of Fine!, the Allan Kaprow Papers, Series III Box 16.3, Getty Research Institute Special Collections.

79

Ibid.

80

Ibid.

81

Foster, The Return of the Real, 20.

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