Art As Life

In 1945 the atomic bombing of  Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked the finals stages of WWII in 1945. Post war, artists were making some really interesting changes to artwork. Around the same time that Allan Kaprow emerged into the art scene some of the artists of the New York School were already thinking in ways that pushed art into a new territories. I find the trajectory of Kaprow’s art particularly  interesting because he started out originally as a painter. Reading about how Kaprow’s work evolved and how other New York artists such as Pollock, who was at the time destroying what we knew as painting, was really interesting. Many artists working in the late 1940′s and early 50′s were using art in therapeutic ways, as a means of escaping the horrors of the war, an internal search for peace. This gestural, painterly style became known as abstract expressionism.  Kaprow’s view on abstract expressionism was not favorable, claiming that it ” invariably seeks the past and  drowns itself in its sob, bitterness and fastidiousness”. Kaprow was searching for a way out and at the same time was taking experimental sound classes with John Cage. Cage explained to Kaprow that the only way he could work through Pollock’s legacy was to explore the significance of painting and sculpture through a time based medium. Kaprow’s early compositions involve creating painted objects that depend upon the participation of the viewer to become assembled and reassembled into new compostions. While Pollock was destroying painting, Kaprow was bringing it off the canvas and into the world. Kaprow used the structures and influences of other artists at the time, such as Raushenberg’s collages, transformed them into environments and added a new element to them; time.  Kaprow invited participants into his environments to rearrange the space, and these interactions with the work developed into  “Happenings.” The influences of Cage, Raushenberg and Pollock were blended together. One element that both Cage and Kaprow are interested in that I am drawn to as well is the element of chance .  I will be working with Danielle Freiman on a project in the near future. I reached out to Danielle specifically because of her ability to create these types of experiences. In her piece, ” Can I Have Your Attention Please” she uses a set of her own parameters to try and influence people to write about her on craigslists missed connections section. I am really fasciniated with the idea that art and life can sometimes be indistinguishable.


“Our poetry now is the realization that we posses nothing” – Cage

“Just as Pollocks painting has no definite frame so the sounds and silences in Cage’s music could be continued indefinitely. Musical sound and noise are really one, so are art and life”


Photo : Fluids, 1967

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