Lucas Samaras

  • Clockwise from top: Allan Kaprow, ca. 1978. Allan Kaprow, Days Off: A Calendar of Happenings, 1968, photo offset on newsprint, staples, shrink-wrap, 10 1/2 x 15 3/8". © Hauser and Wirth Zürich London. Invitation for Allan Kaprow's Courtyard, 1962. © Museum of Modern Art Library.


    Allan Kaprow’s death this spring at age seventy-eight, a profound loss by any measure, is all the more impropitious given the recent upsurge of interest in his work and the growing awareness of his contemporary relevance. While his happenings gained widespread notoriety in artistic circles and mass culture alike during the ’60s and ’70s, his evolving critical writings and activities both then and in later years resonate strongly within the context of today’s vital considerations of performance and spectatorship, aesthetics and politics, and private experience in an age of spectacularized commerce.

  • Lucas Samaras, untitled work for Allan Kaprow, 2006.

    Lucas Samaras

    I WAS ALLAN’S student at Rutgers in the mid-’50s. At that time, George Segal had a farm nearby, where he was showing his sculpture in a creepy old decrepit barn with lamps, cobwebs, mice, and shit—he was obviously interested in what used to be called a theatrical experience—and he invited Allan to use the structure for whatever he wanted. The first thing Allan did, I think, was hang these strips made of raffia throughout the space, which gave you the feeling of walking through tall grass. But soon Allan got interested in directing people. I don’t know whose idea it was, but either he or George


    GOOD ART MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD, and everything in it, into art. When you leave a gallery and can’t tell whether the piles of traffic cones outside are a streetwork or not, then the show inside must have been a “good” one. However, this porosity of art boundaries can be a problem, especially for the artists. They’re urged by everyday proximity to and belief in art (at least in their own art) to artify everything within their ken. Think of thousands of Blanche Duboises encircled by a galaxy of bare bulbs. So a few have decided to make the most of this involuntary tendency and work the space around

  • Magpie in the Sky

    IT TAKES A CERTAIN amount of bravery to live among one’s own art, as if locked overnight in your show after the gallery has closed. It’s probably easier if you possess a monastic temperament, happy to sit at an Upper West Side kitchen table and stitch remnants or string beads or fracture and manipulate images. Of course, monks aren’t usually packrats, surrounding themselves with junk-store familiars that are audience to their own demise and artistic resurrection. But this is how Lucas Samaras lived and worked until 1990, when he moved himself and his material brood into a dramatically high


    The following conversation is an excerpt from the editorial discussion that explored some of the reasons for doing this issue. It preceded our meetings with our guests in this project.

    Ingrid Sischy, 35: I think the place for us to start, just so we get our ground, is to try to roughly sketch out why we want to take on these three letters a g e in the first place.

    Thomas McEvilley, 48: Well right away we’d better talk about the problem of using the word “age.” I mean for one thing, when you bring this up to someone and you say We’d like to have a conversation with you about age, they immediately

  • A Reconstituted Diary: Greece, 1967

    “WE WILL TRY TO MAKE this a fine event for you,” said the Captain over the intercom. What an easing thing to hear, especially among the vaguely nauseous uncertainties that my stomach and intestines are transmitting from one part of my brain to another. My seat is earth-rooted, but when I look out of the head-size, claustrophobic, rainbow-catching window I get a weird, disjointed, perplexing feeling. Going to Greece after nineteen years of dreams about returning. Reluctantly retrotting, not freely wanting to confront myself with the inevitable jangle between polished remembrances and dispassionate

  • An Exploratory Dissection of Seeing

    “Under the Amorians and Macedonians (9-11 century) Byzantine aesthetic theory seems to have placed all its emphasis on sight and on the colours—and therefore forms—sight apprehended. This is a contrast to the 4th-century Cappadocian school with their emphasis on the power of the word and the delights of poetry.” (p. 119)

    In the 9–11 century, “. . . a picture was never valued so high in any other phase of the unbroken Greek tradition. This was partly the result of the development of the theory of the fantasia, partly of the Iconodule theory of the priority of sight among the five senses, partly