allan kaprow (1927-2006)


In the late Fifties, the spirit of Dada was revived in Post-World War II American Art. For Allan Kaprow, the artist who led this revival was Jackson Pollock. In a famous article, written in 1956 (the year of Pollock’s death) and published two years later in Art News by the distinguished editor Thomas Hess, Kaprow claimed that Pollock was less important for his paintings as material objects than for the kind of choreographic approach to painting that the artist instigated. This led Kaprow to explore a concept, close to Dada, in which intermedia performances involving groups of participants—which came to be known as “Happenings”—became a new art form. By 1959 Kaprow was exploring a direction in art where idea and process were considered more important than the object. Others, like Jim Dine, Robert Whitman, Claes Oldenburg, and Red Grooms, eventually joined in with their own versions of this phenomenon. In many ways, Kaprow was as much a link between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art as Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, or even the sculptor George Segal.

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