"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John Cage

Allan Kaprow, Notes on 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, c. late 1950s.











Allan Kaprow, 18 Happening in 6 Parts, 1959.










The Legacy of Jackson Pollock by Allan Kaprow, 1958


  • Argued that Pollock destroyed painting
    and plunged art into the realm of reality
  • Pollock's mural-like scale transformed the viewer into participant
  • Kaprow continued to investigate the participatory nature of art throughout career
Kaprow coined the term "happening" = a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art
  • Happenings could take place anywhere, were often multi-disciplinary, often lacked a narrative and frequently sought to involve the audience in some way
Allan Kaprow, Household (Women licking jam off car), 1964.










4' 33"

John Cage. 4'33". 1952.











John Cage 1952 performance
William Marx 2010 performance












Allan Kaprow, Fluids Happening, Performed in 2008 by CSULA Students.












Mierle Ukeles, Washing, 1973. Reperformed by Annee Grotte Viken in 2012.










1954 Jiro Yoshihara founded
the Gutai Art Association in Japan

Challenging Mud

Gutai = concrete

In the Gutai Manifesto, Jirō Yoshihara defined Gutai as truth to the material of which art is made, and lifting that material to spiritual heights. He singled out Jackson Pollock and the French painter Georges Mathieu as artists who "grapple with the material in a way which is completely appropriate to it," and encouraged group members to emulate this approach.
Kazuo Shiraga, Challenging Mud, 1955. Photo from the first Gutai exhibition.











Breaking Through
Saburo Murakami, Breaking Through Many Paper Screens, 1956, Photo from the second Gutai exhibition.
Saburo Murakami, Iriguchi (Exit?), 1955 / 2012.
























Hurling Colors
Shozo Shimamoto performs Hurling Colors at the second Gutai Exhibition, 1956.











Zen for Head
Nam June Paik, Zen for Head, 1962.










Charlotte Moorman performs Nam June Paik's TV Bra for Living Sculpture, 1969.











Art and Culture
Art and Culture
John Latham, Text from Art & Culture, 1966.
John Latham, Art & Culture, 1966.











Pierro Manzoni, Artist's Breath, 1960.
Pierro Manzoni, Artist's Breath, 1960.











Artist's Shit

Piero Manzoni, Artist's Shit, 1960.











Number 1


Jackson Pollock at work, 1950.
Piero Manzoni with Artist's Shit, 1961.











Living Sculpture
Pedestal for the World
Piero Manzoni, Living Sculpture, 1961.
Piero Manzoni, Pedestal for the World, 1962.











Rachel Lachowicz, Red Not Blue performance stills, 1992