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an artistic event of a theatrical nature, but usually improvised spontaneously without the framework of a plot. The term originated with the creation and performance in 1959 of Allan Kaprow's "18 Happenings in 6 Parts." This work emphasized various sorts of performances and experiences, including slide projection, dance, and taste and odor sensations. Many examples of the genre required audience participation, and the aesthetic effect produced was a result of the combination of events experienced. Celebrated happenings include Claes OldenburgOldenburg, Claes
, 1929–, Swedish-American artist, b. Stockholm, raised Chicago, studied at Yale, moved to New York 1956. Usually considered part of the pop art movement, Oldenburg explores the ironic and humorous aspects of common objects by grossly distorting them in
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's "Store" (1961), "Autobodies" (1963), and "Washes" (1965); Robert RauschenbergRauschenberg, Robert
, 1925–2008, American painter, b. Port Arthur, Tex., as Milton Ernest Rauschenberg. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, and at New York's Art Students League.
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's "Map Room II" (1965); Robert Whitman's "The American Moon" (1960); and Kaprow's own "Calling" (1965).


See RoseLee Goldberg, Performance Art (1988); R. E. Haywood, Revolution of the Ordinary: Allen Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings (1993); J. F. Rodenbeck, Radical Prototypes: Allen Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings (2011).

References in periodicals archive ?
Media as rear-view mirror tells what has happened before in the past and on the other hand it also tells what is happening and likely to happen in the future.
The new Happening Now feature is being compared to Twitter's other feature that's called Moments.
The fear is it is happening behind closed doors in a cult of silence, with victims too young and too fearful to speak out.
Newly released figures from the Department of Stressful Happenings (DoSH) reveal a worrying increase in the number of undesirable things that have been allowed to happen, which rose by 140 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2012.
But at the time, the question of what a Happening actually was--eight years after the term had been coined by Kaprow in his groundbreaking essay "The Legacy of Jackson Pollock"--had become something of an obsession.
A lot of things were going on in his world at the time that I don't think we knew what was happening to him," Richard Kruska said.
She will do anything to stop this from happening, including pretending to be a boy, trying to fool fate.
All eyes will be watching Wolfsburg to see just what happens in mid-April when Piech and other members of the board decide Pischetsrieder's fate, but the real excitement may be happening behind the curtain.
What is happening is that the message that is sent to the world is that the influence of Castro and Chavez over Latin American countries is a negative one.
While we may not have 20 per cent unemployment as during the Great Depression, what is happening now is a great shame on those regulatory agencies that were supposed to make sure the public was protected from corporate abuses.
I can just see resurrection happening in these communities.