Allan Kaprow ha muerto

April 11, 2006

Allan Kaprow ha muerto.

Le Monde y el New York Times lo despiden de este modo:

Le Monde (www.lemonde.fr.) NYT (www.nyt.com)

Nécrologie

 

Allan Kaprow, artiste et théoricien américain

LE MONDE | 10.04.06 | 15h57 • Mis à jour le 10.04.06 | 15h57

L'artiste et théoricien américain Allan Kaprow est mort mercredi 5 avril à l'âge de 79 ans.

Né à Atlantic City (New Jersey) en 1927, Allan Kaprow grandit à Tucson. En 1947-1948, il suit à New York l'enseignement du peintre Hans Hofmann. Sa peinture est alors d'un expressionnisme gestuel qui intègre des éléments figuratifs, des images, des objets. Cofondateur avec d'autres élèves d'Hoffmann de la Hansa Gallery, il y présente, à partir de 1952, des compositions qui s'écartent de plus en plus de la toile pour prendre possession de l'espace.

En 1958, dans son article L'héritage de Jackson Pollock, Allan Kaprow s'explique sur cette évolution en faisant observer que les toiles de Pollock ont grandi au point de devenir des environnements et qu'il poursuit lui-même dans cette direction : "Toutes sortes d'objets peuvent servir de matériaux à l'art à venir : la peinture, des chaises, la nourriture, des lumières électriques, des néons, la fumée, l'eau, de vieilles chaussettes, un chien, le cinéma et mille autres choses encore…" Ses "action-collages" (Penny Arcade, 1956 ou Wall, 1957-1959) mettent alors en pratique cette réflexion.

Entre-temps, de 1956 à 1958, Allan Kaprow suit les cours de composition musicale de John Cage à la New School for Social Research à Manhattan. Ce que Cage dit du hasard et des accidents s'accorde à ce que Kaprow attend de l'environnement et de ses effets sur un spectateur qui doit être absorbé au point de participer au lieu de se borner à regarder. Kaprow rejoint ainsi les dadaïstes et Artaud. Ses installations occupent désormais l'espace entier de la galerie. En 1965, à cette date, il a trouvé ses véritables contemporains et alliés : les Japonais du groupe Gutaï, les Européens de Fluxus, Jean-Jacques Lebel en France et son Festival de la libre expression.

Et trouvé surtout la notion et le terme auxquels son nom sera demeuré lié : "happening". En 1959, Allan Kaprow présente à la Reuben Gallery 18 happenings in 6 parts : la galerie est divisée en 3 pièces, les spectateurs sont répartis entre elles à des moments et selon des cheminements précis. Ils assistent alors à des performances variées réalisées par, entre autres, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns et Lester Johnson. Ce "nouveau théâtre" qui associe arts plastiques, danses, mimes, improvisations et musiques est bien accueilli à New York.

Les happenings – le mot et la chose – s'y développent tout au long des années 1960 et leur préparation devient l'activité principale de Kaprow. Ils se nomment Apple Shrines (1960), A Service for the Dead (1962), Words (1962), Eat (1964). Le comique et le tragique, le funambulesque et le symbolique s'y côtoient et Kaprow s'efforce de laisser sa part au hasard – le comportement des spectateurs-acteurs.

Quand il n'en combine pas, Allan Kaprow écrit l'histoire des happenings. Il en donne la définition : "Un environnement exalté dans lequel le mouvement et l'activité sont intensifiés pendant un temps limité." En 1966, il publie Assemblages, environnements et happenings, tout à la fois histoire, géographie et théorie de cet art qui abolit la distance qui le sépare ordinairement de la vie quotidienne et commune. Kaprow y fait place à tous ceux qui ont été proches de lui dans cette expérimentation, de Rauschenberg à Lebel en passant par Dine et Vostell.

Cet ouvrage annonce aussi l'orientation ultérieure de Kaprow vers une réflexion philosophique de plus en plus vaste sur l'art dans la vie contemporaine, les médias, la culture. Professeur à Berkeley, puis à l'université de San Diego à partir de 1974, il a alors exercé une grande influence sur les artistes de la côte Ouest, parmi lesquels Chris Burden. Allan Kaprow est l'auteur de plus d'une centaine d'articles, films et vidéos sur happenings et performances. Une anthologie en a été traduite en français sous le titre L'Art et la vie confondus (Centre Pompidou, 1996).

 

Philippe Dagen

Article paru dans l'édition du 11.04.06

 

[ .. ]

The New York Times:

 

April 10, 2006

Allan Kaprow, Creator of Artistic Happenings, Dies at 78

By HOLLAND COTTER

Allan Kaprow, an artist who coined the term "happenings" in the late 1950's and whose anti-art, audience-participation works contributed to radical changes in the course of late-20th-century art, died on Wednesday at his home in Encinitas, Calif., near San Diego. He was 78.

He died of natural causes after a long illness, said Tamara Bloomberg, his studio manager.

Mr. Kaprow was born in Atlantic City and began his career as an abstract painter in New York City in the 1940's, studying with Hans Hofmann. Inspired by the swirling drips and spatters of Jackson Pollock, and focusing on the idea of the painting as a physical event rather than as the production of an object, Mr. Kaprow pushed the "action painting" aesthetic in multimedia directions, at first by bulking up his canvas surfaces with hunks of straw and wadded newspapers and adding movable parts that viewers were invited to manipulate.

He called the results "action collages" and predicted, in a 1958 article in Art News, that in the art of the future action would predominate over painting and an increasing array of materials would come into play, including "chairs, food, electric and neon lights, smoke, water, old socks, a dog, movies, and a thousand other things." His own collages began to develop into room-filling environments that would pave the way for the installation art and performance art of today.

Along with Pollock, Mr. Kaprow's other great influence was the composer John Cage, with whom he studied from 1956 to 1958 at the New School for Social Research. He was particularly interested in Cage's Zen-inspired reliance on chance as an organizing, or disorganizing, element in art. Like Cage, he used a combination of choice and accident as a way of creating nonverbal, quasi-theatrical situations in which performers functioned as kinetic objects, the role of the single artist-genius was de-emphasized, audience members became creative participants, and no clear distinction was made between everyday actions and ritual.

The first such work, "Eighteen Happenings in Six Parts," took place in October 1959 at the Reuben Gallery in Manhattan, which Mr. Kaprow had co-founded. Although later the term "happening" would come to mean spontaneous, celebratory group behavior, Mr. Kaprow's early events were scripted assemblages of movement, sound, scent and light, with instructions given to performers and viewers alike. In the October 1959 version, spectators moved, on cue, to different parts of the gallery to experience a woman squeezing oranges, artists painting and a concert played on toy instruments.

Throughout his career Mr. Kaprow, who referred to himself as an "un-artist," created happenings outside galleries and museums, in lofts, stores, gymnasiums and parking lots. An element of absurdity was never far away: with the assistance of viewer-workers, he built houses from ice in Southern California and, in 1970, constructed a wall of bread with jelly as mortar near the Berlin Wall.

Mr. Kaprow was only one of the several artists involved in inventing happenings as a form: Jim Dine, Red Grooms, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Watts and Robert Whitman continued to use it. But he eventually stopped creating large public events in favor of what he called "activities" — intimate, personal pieces for a small number of participants. People in pairs, for example, would breathe into each other's mouths, or sweep the street, or go shopping.

In some case, Mr. Kaprow himself was the sole participant and audience, as in a 1980's piece that focused on the details of his daily tooth-brushing at home. He documented these private works in small booklets of instructions that read like Concrete poetry.

As an undergraduate at New York University, Mr. Kaprow was much influenced by John Dewey's book "Art as Experience." He did graduate work in art history at Columbia University with Meyer Schapiro, for whom he wrote a master's thesis on Mondrian. He taught at Rutgers University, Pratt Institute, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, California Institute of the Arts and, from 1974 to 1993, the University of California at San Diego.

He was a prolific and personable writer, and much of his work is collected in "Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life," edited by Jeff Kelley and published by the University of California Press in 1993. Mr. Kelley's book on the artist, "Childsplay: The Art of Allan Kaprow," was published by the same press in 2004.

That book has a foreword by the poet and performer David Antin, a longtime colleague of Mr. Kaprow, in which Mr. Antin describes a piece from the late 1980's that required a participant to carry cinder blocks, one at a time, up five flights of stairs, then down again. The number of blocks corresponded to the carrier's age. "I know that Allan sees his work as 'un-art,' " Mr. Antin concludes, "and wants to see its separation from art, envisioning it as simply an articulation of meaningful experiences from ordinary life. I'm sympathetic to this intention, but I find it hard to distinguish the existential power of this piece, which now exists only in the telling, from that of any other great work of art I've ever encountered."

Mr. Kaprow is survived by his second wife, Coryl Crane; two sons, Bram, of Encinitas, and Anton, of Altadena, Calif.; two daughters, Amy, of Berkeley, Calif., and Marisa, of Pacific Beach, Calif.; and three grandchildren.

[ .. ]

Una temporada en el infierno. In Memoriam, Allan Kaprow 

One Response to “Allan Kaprow ha muerto”


  1. […] Vía: mediateletipos –> Una temporada en el infierno –> Európolis –> N.Y. Times. […]


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