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Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Allan Kaprow's "happenings" and "environments" were the precursors to contemporary performance art, and his essays are some of the most thoughtful, provocative, and influential of his generation. His sustained inquiry into the paradoxical relationship of art to life and into the nature of meaning itself is brought into focus in this newly expanded collection of his most ...more
Paperback, Expanded, 297 pages
Published December 15th 2003 by University of California Press (first published October 4th 1993)
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Megan Mcdowell
Dec 16, 2008 rated it liked it
this book from the "father of happenings" starts out feeling a bit dated, but after the second or third essay it all begins to feel timely and still relevant, and finally exciting.
George Bieber
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking, inspiring observations about art and artists.
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in modern art, performance art, performance, or experimental music
Shelves: art-and-design, phd
Just revised my star rating up to 'amazing' because I can't get this book out of my head. It's just... well... amazing. As the title says, it's a collection of essays, arranged by decade. These cover a range of topics, including artists such as Jackson Pollock, the Happenings, and the development of Kaprow's particular view of DIY performance art. Pretty much all the essays are very interesting, with many for me containing serious 'ah-ha!' moments. I'm sure I'll be coming back to this book again ...more
AdultNonFiction Teton County Library
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arts
Teton county Library call number 700.973 Kaprow
Suzanne's rating 4 stars, on a good day

What can I say about Allan Kaprow? He's a hero for artists that respect the work of this innovative artist with his involvement in the birth of "happenings" and performance art. Lately I've been seeing in the art circles more references to Kaprow-esque terms a few scattered artists are even calling their time and participatory work as "activities" definitely paying homage to Kaprow.

As for reading books like
Kevin McDonagh
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Fascinating Essays which clearly show how over the course of his life Allan Kaprow grappled with the none too easy task of continually clarifying 'Happenings' and their place in Art for both himself and the spectator. Ironically they lose something through description as his Artistic vocabulary was constrained by the times while being urged to evolve and explain his work into an increasingly systematic approach.
May 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: completed
I must say it is extraordinary in its approach and innovation, and in its resonance with me. As I borrowed it from the library (now, just ordered it from Amazon), I look 8 pages of notes!

The whole concept of "nonart art" and moving beyond the gallery and museum--removing the separation of "art" from "life"--feels so alive.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
an amazing read and such a fantastic progression of thought about artlike art and lifelike art and Kaprow's progression from art back into life, or from artlike art back into life, like art

i want to buy this book and read it again and reference it for any future analysis, research and writings into cyberSurrealism
Michael Dipietro
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've only read one essay from this book thus far and it seems very promising. Kaprow's writing is wonderful to read and insightful - he's extremely self-aware of his own ideas and how they play out in the society around him. You can tell that he loves reading Artaud as much as the back of Jiffy cake mix.
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, art
Dear Mr A Kaprow,

I've finished reading your book and what a great journey it was. Thanks for your ideas, love / hate of art and the urge you had to share it with others. I think I'll be referring to your text for a long time to come.

Warmest Regards,

K Walker

Dear Thesis,
I'm on my way to you, baby!

Chay Allen
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This still remains the best resource on Kaprow. No one offers more insight into his practice than the man himself.
Robb Todd
Found this book on a coffee table in my college library. Flipped through it and had a mind explosion. The hole in a doughnut, man. THE HOLE IN A DOUGHNUT!
Kathy Augustine
Mar 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: artists
Shelves: art
Kaprow's account of his Happenings gives insight into how art and life merge in our every day experiences. Read this book and you will look at the world in a whole new way!
sara manente
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
a book of good recepis
Feb 14, 2008 added it
Shelves: recently-read
Bought this a long time ago, read it then and recently thumbed through again. Better than I remembered, and actually very enjoyable.
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