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Allan Kaprow papers, 1940-1997

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Kaprow (Allan) Papers

Scope and Content of Collection

The Allan Kaprow Papers offer comprehensive documentation of an artistic career that spanned the latter half of the 20th century and continues into the 21st. Arranged chronologically so as to demonstrate the artist's passage from student of art and art history to practicing artist, art theorist and art educator, the collection contains drawings, term papers and notebooks from Kaprow's student days, followed by ca. 250 Project Files, comprising the complete extant documentation of Kaprow's Environments, Happenings, and Activities. These files form the core of the collection and demonstrate the evolution of Kaprow's Happening from a relatively scripted, grand, social event (Chicken; Household) to an austere, inter-subjective experience (Time Pieces; Rates of Exchange). They contain the artist's notes and drafts of the casually poetic scores, along with correspondence and photo-documentation by Peter Moore, Robert McElroy, and Julian Wasser, among other photographers. A variety of Printed Matter, including Scrapbooks, Clippings and Posters, document the work's presentation and reception in the art world. There are also Film, Video and Audio recordings of many Happenings and Activities. Kaprow's writings, arranged chronologically by year, represent the artist's consistent production of articles, essays, books, and lectures about the practice of contemporary art and issues in art education. Teaching files contain correspondence with university officials and colleagues; together with Professional Correspondence they portray the financial difficulties attendant on an unconventional art career that has taken place outside the usual venues and generated few objects that could be sold for profit. Artists' Files comprise texts, objects or photographs sent to Kaprow, and evoke the international community of avant-garde artists to which Kaprow belongs.

Arrangement note

The papers are organized in 10 series:
Series I. Education, 1940-1996
Series II. Hansa Gallery, 1953-1958
Series III. Project Files, 1946-1999
Series IV. Printed Matter, 1952-1997
Series V. Writings, 1953-1997
Series VI. Teaching Files, 1952-1993
Series VII. Professional Correspondence, 1946-1998
Series VIII. Artists' Files, 1955-1996
Series IX. Personal, 1946-1996
Series X. Films and Video and Audio Tapes, 1957-1995
Oversize from Series I-X, 1949-1970




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