Week 1: Artist-Allan Kaprow

Allan Kaprow

After watching the video on slack and researching Allan Kaprow further, I really have an appreciation for his works. I am not an art major and have never heard of him before, much less the types of work he did including the “Happenings”. When I looked into his work I thought it was so cool that he created art by allowing people to participate in random different settings and allow interaction between themselves and props. Until I learned about the happenings, I only thought of abstract art as a painting or drawing that used visual language to express something. The happenings allowed visual language to be expressed through photos. As I mentioned in the slack discussion, Kaprow’s “Eat” was an art form from the happening that I thought was really creative and cool.

As mentioned in the slack discussion regarding “Eat” from the happening:

“When I first saw the picture “Eat” from the happening, it grabbed my attention but I was not clear what was going on in the picture. It was not until I researched the background of the photo that I realized how brilliant the idea was. In this environment, Kaprow invited participants to enter a faintly lit cave for an hour, where they were presented with a few women silently offering different foods and drinks that they had the option to try. Each sampling station was in a different area of the cave, with some places harder to reach than others. In addition, there were background voices and sounds repeating themselves over and over. Kaprow was able to capture individuals facing multiple senses, curiosity, and apprehensiveness, all at once, into one artistic photo. I think this was extremely cool because the phrase a “picture means a thousand words” was especially true in this case. Each individual was allowed to make their own decisions upon entering the cave, and each individual’s reaction was different based on how they each responded to the exact same factors. In a sense, it took someone’s life decisions and turned it into art.”

After I finished the “Artist of the Week” discussion, I did more research because I was curious to know if there were other artists with works similar to Kaprow’s. There were a few artists I came across who had art forms similar to Kaprow’s but I still liked his the best. I think it was super creative for him to create an art form that forced viewers to actually participate, thus bridging the gap between life and art. Kaprow did a great job of challenging what art is.


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