Wk1 – Artist – Allan Kaprow

by eunjoos



Allan Kaprow was an American artist that is very much known for the “Happening” and “Environment” or “Yard” in the late 1950s and 1960s. His art is known for being immersive and pioneered by everyday life. Kaprow’s happenings changed the definition of art in his day. Art used to be viewed as an object that you can look at, either on a wall or on a pedestal. He changed “art” to anything at all, this includes movement, scent, activity, or even sound.


“Baby” (1957) is a collage made from his own pieces of art and objects in vertical stripes. This piece reeks of disorder, yet of order. The vertical strips of this collage is arranged so that there is an element of order. This is where Kaprow strayed away from two-dimensional art and more towards the three dimensional form. He used objects and everyday materials to have more of a connection with everyday life and experiences. This was his ultimate goal in his later pieces to come.

This piece was the one that stood out to me the most because it is so interesting to look at. Another reason why I like this piece is because Kaprow is trying to move towards an “unbound” three dimensional form instead of paintings and drawings. “Baby” begins his artistic journey thats main goal was to have an immersive relationship between the viewers and the artist.


Allan Kaprow’s “Yard” (1961) is a recreation of a junkyard. This was part of his “Environments” installation where there are rooms filled with objects one would find in everyday life. In the picture above you can see how the people are playing in the yard. Spectators were allowed to play within the boundaries of the yard and have become a piece of the art itself. This is something I have never really seen before and I think it is a marvelous piece of art. In this picture you can see how the people and art become one; it looks like it is supposed to belong there, and that was Kaprow’s main goal with this piece. He was trying to make the viewer part of the piece of art.



Allan Kaprow’s “Fluids” (1967) again immersed visitors with the piece of art. In Pasadena, CA, he recruited local residents to build huge ice structures. “During three days, about twenty rectangular enclosures of ice blocks (measuring about 30 feet long, 10 wide, and 8 high) are built throughout the city, their walls are unbroken, they are left to melt.” People worked on this together, but they knew, in the end, that the ice will melt. Why would they build this if they knew that the ice would melt? Was their labor meaningless? I think the main message here is that art is fleeting, “the idea of collective action resulting in the inevitable melting of the ice was a comment on the obsolete nature of human labor.” -theartstory

Allan Kaprow left a great impression in the art world. Art does not have to be some painting hanging on the wall to be gawked at. It can be anything and be made by anything. He allowed spectators to be a part of his art, and allowed them to immerse themselves and be a part of his creation. His work had a strong influence on contemporary art such as Pop art and Minimalism. His influence is in many art pieces today, and he started a movement of art being the simple things in life.