The Happening… Not The One With Mark Wahlberg.

Kaprow Allan, “Untitled Guidelines for Happening (1965)”

Allan Kaprow, one of the first creators of happenings, wrote the article “Untitled Guidelines for Happenings” in order to give a step-by-step guide on how to achieve a successful happening. Kaprow’s article begins by explaining how the blending of art and everyday life should always change, and that the mixing of the two should be indiscernible. Kaprow goes on to explain that he believes that everything involved with the happening should stay away from the arts. His belief is that the people involved will put restrictions on themselves in order to maintain the order of what is art. However Kaprow states, “ Artistic attachments are still so many window dressings, unconsciously held on to legitimize an art that otherwise might go unrecognized.”(709) Kaprow continuous to write about how the location of the happening should not be static; that the event should spread, almost to the point that each event could be describe as an individual happening itself. Kaprow moves on to the timing of the event, which he states, “should be variable and discontinuous.”(710) He describes how, unless specifically stated otherwise, a happen should not rely on time, and have a fixed ending. He believes that each occurrence should naturally end, even if one ends significantly before the other. He states that the happening should only happen once, further elaborating that even if one wanted to reconstruct a happening that it would not be the same as the previous one, therefore becoming a completely different work of art. Finally he states that the audience must be eliminated. This final act would seemingly eradicate the happening.

Kaprow’s Yard is an excellent example on the blending of real life and art. Kaprow achieved Yard by filling the back area of the Martha Jackson Gallery’s backyard with hundreds of tires, essentially creating a junkyard. He then invited ordinary people to sit on, play, or move the tires around as they please. Having the interaction between the people and the tires further blend real life and art.

-Trevette  Cat.


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