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Beyond the HappeningPerformance art and the politics of communication$
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Catherine Spencer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526144454

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526144461

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Allan Kaprow’s Lesson Plans

Allan Kaprow’s Lesson Plans

(p.31) 1 Allan Kaprow’s Lesson Plans
Beyond the Happening

Catherine Spencer

Manchester University Press

In the late 1960s, Kaprow embarked on a fresh conceptualisation of the Happening as a fusion of radical pedagogy and sociology, which could act an innovative educational tool. Despite Kaprow’s oft-cited ambivalence toward photography, this went hand in hand with a new receptiveness to the medium, with performances incorporating the act of taking photographs as a way of generating knowledge and facilitating interaction. These experiments, which were shaped by sociological writings on education and nonverbal communication, together with conceptual photography, received their fullest treatment in Project Other Ways, a pedagogic collaboration with the educator Herbert Kohl in Berkeley between 1968 and 1969. While Project Other Ways has been treated as an outlier in Kaprow’s practice, Chapter 1 establishes its connections with the artist’s longstanding investment in art education, sociology and communications theory, and with the broader transformation of the Happening during the late 1960s and the 1970s.

Keywords:   Conceptual art, nonverbal communication, pedagogy, photography, politics, protest, social art, systems theory

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