New York

John Bock

Anton Kern Gallery

"I’m in New Yok, and in New Yok the tradition is that the ahtist makes a Happening,” John Bock announced while standing on a curious plywood platform that formed the stage for his most recent performance. Cheerfully, earnestly, the German artist urged his Chelsea audience to “Go do it, it’s a Happening!” The viewers, most of whom were probably in diapers during the Happenings era (as Bock himself was), responded with sluggish amusement, as if they had been asked to dance the frug. Some accepted the beer and cigarettes Bock proffered. Others allowed him to douse twists of their hair with hairspray. One woman giggled with embarrassment as he tried to cajole her neighbors into nuzzling her. The hour-long event, complete with knitted sculptures, a costumed goat, and a surprise ending, felt sloppy, fresh, and yet strangely quaint, a throwback to a time when live performance promised to renew

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