How To Make A Happening

(Primary Information) CD $15.75 (Out-of-stock)

Allan Kaprow lays out eleven rules on how, and how not, to participate in the art movement he began in the late 1950s and which became known for its unpredictability, open scores, and constantly-evolving form. On Primary Information’s CD — reissued with the cooperation of the Estate of Allan Kaprow and the Getty Research Institute — he speaks plainly into a microphone, delivering private cut-to-the-chase style instruction on Happenings that is both informative and contradictory, both a practical and theoretical how-to with frequent dead-pan humor. He also reads the program and notes of three Happenings (“Soap,” “Calling,” and “Raining”), which serve as loose instruction, as they involve improvisation and forces beyond human control, such as acts of nature and other environmental forces. This spoken word recording, which reflects and informs on a movement that fifty years ago jump-started a seminal shift in postwar contemporary art and performance, was made without the advantage of hindsight and naturally lacks sentimentality and a sense of its relevance within this history. In fact, Kaprow shrugs off its place in the arts. As he declares in rule number one: “Forget all the standard art forms — don’t paint pictures, don’t make poetry, don’t build architecture, don’t arrange dances, don’t write plays, don’t compose music, don’t make movies, and above all don’t think you’ll get a happening by putting all these together.” Hand-silkscreened jewelcase that replicates the laminated 1968 edition by Alison Knowles and Something Else Press while preserving Mass Art’s original artwork from the 1966 edition. Listen to an excerpt here: