Spaces

The mixed-media activities of the late 1950s- the Environments and Happenings of Kaprow, Dine, Oldenburg, and others, and the tableaux of Kienholz and Segal-were the direct inheritors of Schwitters’s Dada application of collage-assemblage techniques. The para-theatrical nature of these artists’ activities was an appropriation of the physical and kinesthetic experience of the stage. Theater had, in fact, earlier attracted artists interested in extending the possibilities of space, but in general they retained the critical separation between performer and spectator. Environments and Happenings largely overcame this distinction by involving the spectator, but they concentrated on activity within a situation rather than on characterizing the spatial volume. The artistic qualification of space itself is the primary fact of the more comprehensive spatial experience that followed. It was an outgrowth of an amalgamation of larger artistic traditions with the particular cultural concerns of the present moment. In this “Space Age,” space is no longer an abstraction. Synthesizing the greater intellectual and physical scope demanded by such times, art may be developing a new humanism in its incorporation within its context of man and his actions and reactions.

Text: Licht Jennifer. cm 21,5×28; pp. 36; BW ills.; staple binding. Publisher: Museum of Modern Art, New York, 19698.

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ID: 19348

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The mixed-media activities of the late 1950s- the Environments and Happenings of Kaprow, Dine, Oldenburg, and others, and the tableaux of Kienholz and Segal-were the direct inheritors of Schwitters’s Dada application of collage-assemblage techniques. The para-theatrical nature of these artists’ activities was an appropriation of the physical and kinesthetic experience of the stage. Theater had, in fact, earlier attracted artists interested in extending the possibilities of space, but in general they retained the critical separation between performer and spectator. Environments and Happenings largely overcame this distinction by involving the spectator, but they concentrated on activity within a situation rather than on characterizing the spatial volume. The artistic qualification of space itself is the primary fact of the more comprehensive spatial experience that followed. It was an outgrowth of an amalgamation of larger artistic traditions with the particular cultural concerns of the present moment. In this “Space Age,” space is no longer an abstraction. Synthesizing the greater intellectual and physical scope demanded by such times, art may be developing a new humanism in its incorporation within its context of man and his actions and reactions.