Suzanne Lacy


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2006.


    “Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) In a rather cynical mode, I trudged uptown one day last spring to see the Munch show at MoMA for what I thought would be a cliché-ridden overview of Nordic gloom-goth. What I got instead was a hard punch to the gut: powerful color, radical ideas about the depiction of memory as space, paintings with emotional vanishing points rather than rational optical

  • 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.

  • Allan Kaprow, Shape, 1969, happening, Berkeley, CA. From Six Ordinary Happenings, 1969. Photo: Diane Gilkerson.

    Suzanne Lacy

    The case can be made that Allan Kaprow was an important influence on public art. But you’ll never get there if you ignore his influence on ’70s feminist performance (as does, for example, the ambitious but flawed exhibition on Los Angeles currently at the Centre Pompidou). In the time’s messy and interrelated worlds of Conceptual, performance, feminist, Marxist, and community-based art, Allan went beyond simple issues of equity to set the stage for a populist inquiry into the possibilities and limitations of art made in public.

    When I was Allan’s student at CalArts during the ’70s, women students