happening

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happening,

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).

Bibliography

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 classic literature ?
"For something tremendous has happened; I must face it without getting muddled.
"It has happened," he repeated, "and I mean to find out what it is."
Sometimes the household both among themselves and in his presence expressed their wonder at how it had all happened, and at the evident omens there had been of it: Prince Andrew's coming to Otradnoe and their coming to Petersburg, and the likeness between Natasha and Prince Andrew which her nurse had noticed on his first visit, and Andrew's encounter with Nicholas in 1805, and many other incidents betokening that it had to be.
It was not the first time in his long and successful life that this thing had happened. It had happened many times, yet each time it was as fresh a surprise as ever to him.
Half an hour passed, an hour; and nothing happened. The balls of quills might have been a stone for all it moved; the lynx might have been frozen to marble; and old One Eye might have been dead.
She drew her foot as far down the chimney as she could, and waited till she heard a little animal (she couldn't guess of what sort it was) scratching and scrambling about in the chimney close above her: then, saying to herself `This is Bill,' she gave one sharp kick, and waited to see what would happen next.
Still she went on growing, and, as a last resource, she put one arm out of the window, and one foot up the chimney, and said to herself `Now I can do no more, whatever happens. What WILL become of me?'
That never happened before.' But the eldest said, 'It is only our princes, who are shouting for joy at our approach.'
In the morning the soldier said nothing about what had happened, but determined to see more of this strange adventure, and went again the second and third night; and every thing happened just as before; the princesses danced each time till their shoes were worn to pieces, and then returned home.
It seemed to be against the law of nature, by which everything hath a right to liberty; nay, it is even unchristian, for it is not doing what we would be done by; but if I had imagined Miss Sophia would have been so much concerned at it, I am sure I never would have done it; nay, if I had known what would have happened to the bird itself: for when Master Jones, who climbed up that tree after it, fell into the water, the bird took a second flight, and presently a nasty hawk carried it away."
Poor Sophia, who now first heard of her little Tommy's fate (for her concern for Jones had prevented her perceiving it when it happened), shed a shower of tears.
"Your arm is broken," he said, and then, "Tell me exactly how it happened-- what happened?"