new-york

Claes Oldenburg, Nekropolis II, 1962. Performance view, Ray Gun Manufacturing Company, New York, March 1962. Photo: Robert R. McElroy. From “Happenings: New York, 1958–1963.”

“Happenings: New York, 1958–1963”

Pace | 32 East 57th Street

Claes Oldenburg, Nekropolis II, 1962. Performance view, Ray Gun Manufacturing Company, New York, March 1962. Photo: Robert R. McElroy. From “Happenings: New York, 1958–1963.”

The organizer of this exhibition, Mildred L. Glimcher, does not define “Happenings.” That is, she does not attempt to distinguish them from, say, poets’ theater, Fluxus events, or other types of experimental performance of the time or after. That decision is probably wise. But it’s interesting to remark that she took 1963 as the project’s terminal date, because by the fall of that year, “numerous artists, musicians, and even critics”—even!—“began to create performances that became part of global exhibitions, demonstrations and festivals; the originating moment had come to an end.” Happenings were really only Happenings when they happened among a fairly limited number of insiders—when they were a coterie art form. This exhibition presented copious documentation and relics of a string of such events by, primarily, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Jim Dine, Lucas Samaras,

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