Childsplay: The Art of Allan Kaprow
Allan Kaprow has been described as an avant-garde revolutionary, a radical sociologist, a Zen(ish) monk, a progressive educator, and an anti-art theorist. But, above all, as this book reminds us, he has been an influential artist. Known for his Happenings , Kaprow created vanguard performances in the early 1960s in which he collaged various art forms (painting, music, and dance), disguised as ordinary things (newspaper, noise, and body movement), into quasi-theatrical events. In the decades since, his works have remained open to the changing character of contemporary experience, always seeking the thresholds at which art and life converge. Because this art places such emphasis on direct experience, some people today think Kaprow's works were primarily transitory and immaterial. Childsplay corrects that misconception by providing a vivid description of Kaprow's Happenings and other art activities, clarifying their materiality, duration, and setting, as well as the ways in which people participated in them. Jeff Kelley brings the artist, his era, and his work to life by showing that Kaprow's artworks were physically present, socially engaged, and intellectually resonant in the moment of their enactment.