Happening – what is it? Examples in the art

Contemporary art involves the mixing of paints extravaganza that should not be taken distant. Some of its genres – happening. It's literally the art of action. In it the viewer himself is the demiurge. He never asks “what's happening” and actively makes all the participation, improvising and mixing all known styles and techniques. The boundary between the viewer and the artist in contemporary art is almost erased, sometimes creating the impression that they change places. Happenings are often conducted in crowded public places. For example, in metro, railway stations, city squares. For the first time these activities began to be conducted in the 1950-ies. Among the first was Allan Kaprow, the author of the term.


This form of modern art as the happening, examples of which today can be found at a social event, at a party, first appeared in the years 1950-1960. First it was used by John cage. His student Allan Kaprow came up with the name it “spontaneous and haphazard theatrical events”. He offered to drink the wine to strangers on the street passers-by. That was his first happening. Representatives of this trend does not reflect on the meaning, so actions can be even so simple, but it's still art. Among them Beuys, dine, cage, Kaplan, Oldenburg, Rauschenberg, Lebel, Liechtenstein.

Happening – it's multidisciplinary style, which is characterized by non-linearity of the narrative and the active participation in the action audience. The author can think through the key elements. However, if all goes according to his idea, you don't need to stop and start again. The main thing – it is a process, not the result. Happening involves improvisation from all stakeholders. these include ordinary people who were passing by. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression through creativity. In the 1960-ies, the term was used more broadly. Then a meeting could be called and a formal event, and meet friends for a game of Billiards. In principle, this is correct, since the goal of this style is the blurring of the boundaries between the everyday and creativity. However, today most use a narrow meaning of the term.

Performance, happening and other types of poskusite: common and differences

in 1966, Rauschenberg insisted on the absence of criteria for new art forms. However, while the boundary between them is not so blurred, that is not to classify. The differences – power. Since modern art involves the creation of something entirely new, then it is important to understand what the weaknesses of the existing one.
Happening has emerged as a trend in the 1950-1960-ies in the framework of pop art. A decade later he appeared in the conceptualism. For such directions as the happenings, photos and videos are optional, but not prohibited. However, the author of the idea does not fix everything, as is customary in the conduct of a performance. Characterized by a clear elaboration of the scenario. Happening do not involve any planning, and relies entirely on interactivity and improvisation. In fact, it has no author. After all, each spectator can turn the action upside down.

performance is more important is the artistic realization of the artist's position, not the interaction between participants. Happening turns the commonplace into art. Performance implies not the duplication of conventional operations, and the creation of a new world that is for the viewers to substitute for reality. Happening says freedom of expression for everyone. Performance – only for the author.

Gunter Sachs and his contribution to the development of art

the Film “Happening in white” in its time created a furor among the Bohemians. However, he remained virtually unknown to the average viewer. However, this picture was first used slowing shooting to which modern audiences are so accustomed to. Gunter Sachs always wanted to be first in everything. He began to gather his collection of modern art, when it was not yet fashionable. Gunther introduced Europe to work Andy Warhol but America made to love Claudia Schiffer. During his life he managed to Excel in many areas. Among them – film.
In 1972, the international Olympic Committee awarded first prize to his painting "Happening in white”. But cinema was not the only passion of the legislative Assembly. He did brilliant pictures, played sports, created its own model of clothes, opened museums and galleries and even studied astrology, though their significance and denied by modern science. Gunter Sachs always loved to experiment. For example, he first shot for a glossy magazine Nude model. Photos of the legislative Assembly are still displayed at exhibitions around the world.


for the First time Allan Kaprow used the term “happening” in 1957, to describe the event, held at an art picnic at George Segal's farm. In 1958 there was published an essay called "Legacy of Jackson Pollock". It KAPRO also uses this term. He gradually came into use. The difficulty was that the happenings quite hard to describe. It can be anything. Wardrip and Montfoort give their own definition of this term. The happening is called performance and activities of the Allan, Kaprow during the 1950-1960 years, which included theatrical elements, but imply limited involvement in the action of the audience. However, this is too narrow a definition. In 1972 Gary Bottinga gave this interpretation: “Happenings threw the matrix of story and plot and replaced it with an even more complex – incident and event”.

Kaprow was a student of John cage. The latter was the author of several musical happenings in 1952. Therefore, the cage is sometimes called the founder of the direction. However, this is quite a controversial proposition. Because of Kaprow first combined music and visual arts. The whole point happening, in blurring the boundaries between real life and creativity. And this requires not only music, but at least some visual images, but better – and tastes, smells, tactile elements. And happening in art is irrelevant to the author's imagination. They are taken from real life, because it is in itself richer than any, even the most talented of the imagination.
Gradually, the happening evolved into new style of contemporary art. His “thing” was the lack of boundaries between the viewer and the author. These roles in the usual sense of the word here does not exist. Today, the happenings are quite common. They will be not only representatives of the creative class, but also ordinary people. However, still many have not even heard about such a direction. Sometimes people participate in this action, but do not even think that was introduced to modern art. However, the role of this style is increasing. In the era of knowledge economy and information society, an increasing number of people seeking to Express themselves. And it is now widely accepted is the fact that in order to do art, you don't need education.

Comparison with the plays

Happening – it is a style that implies an organic relationship between creativity and the environment. Kaprow believed that it can get rid of for a brief moment right manners and know real life. Moreover, this decision is always spontaneous. It can make you feel “dirty”. Life is not always beautiful, but one has to appreciate all of its manifestations. This is the real freedom. And even in such circumstances, there is hope for development. The happenings no philosophy or plot, it's pure improvisation.
Author can always think of key events, however, this does not mean that they will be realized. Each “viewer” is an active participant in the action. So it can evolve in unpredictable ways. And there is no disaster. If the author's vision did not coincide with the real development of the events, you do not need to go. This is the main difference with the play. The latter always makes sense. Every word in the play reflects the author's vision. Her story does not reflect the flow of thoughts of the audience. The viewer of the play does not involved in the action. He is a bystander who can down to assess its quality.

Happening can not fail. Participants can gather in advance, but if they don't come, it is not a disaster. You can always attract viewers from the street. With the play of the same case. He must pay for the work, the scenery sometimes cost a lot of money, so success depends on the number of tickets sold. In the happening is much more important the process than the result. Even when the real action and the idea of the author – are completely different things, you cannot say that something went wrong. Because the result is not important. Bad can only be called the happening, whose author insists on his vision, forgetting about the freedom of creativity of the public. The rejection of improv – the death of this style.
As noted by the Red Horse, the happening suggests that nobody knows what is happening. And in this he is very similar to real life. If the piece is a complete work in which the author has laid a certain morality, it is happening – this is pure improvisation. As in any other everyday situation, in this action each does what it wants, and then sees the consequences of their decisions.

Contributions to the development of digital technologies

Happenings contributed to the development of means of communication. They are largely determined by their modern look. The happenings allowed artists to engage the audience in problem. People were able to participate in the work in real time. Well-known musicians from the band Jass Vision Trio who play jazz improvisation. Interesting is a kind of political happening. He questioned the seriousness of government. Examples include mass demonstrations quasiparticle organization called “Subtropical Russia». They advocate the reduction of the boiling point of water to 50 degrees Celsius and the change in climate towards more warm. This is a form of protest against the absurdity of the power structure and its decisions.

In Russia

Considering Museum happening, it is impossible not to recall the St. Petersburg «Trickster". It is divided into two sections: children and adults. Museum of laughter allows the visitor to interact directly with exhibits. Here art combined with real life, giving the common man a Golden opportunity of self-expression. Another example of the happenings in Russia are demonstrations. They are held in many cities of Russia and CIS countries. The first Monstration took place in 2004 in Novosibirsk. Since then, they are held every year. Difference Monstration from flash mobs and performances is the lack of script. The only thing communicated to the participants in advance – it's a meeting place. A number of well known – 1 may each year. The participants bring with them placards on which were written slogans absurd.

Demonstrations questioning political demonstrations. They are a form of protest, expanding the boundaries of rights and freedoms. Although the slogans on them are apolitical, but the demonstrations help to increase the social activity of the population. Today they are held annually in such Russian cities as Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Chelyabinsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Perm, Tomsk, Simferopol, Yaroslavl, Tyumen. From cities of neighboring countries, can be summarized Chisinau, Riga and Beijing.

the Philosophy of modern art

Happening in the art – this is not a new style as explained, Kaprow and volitional action. It is a vital necessity for every human being. Not as important as the professionalism of this art, as it is existential. The need for participation in happenings incorporated in the human nature. Kaprow believed that once the artist was recognized and began to pay for his work, he is deprived of his right to freedom of creativity. Now he has to constantly meet the tastes of its audience. It may not be his intention, but it will happen. And this is no fault of the public. As a result, his work begins to degenerate, images – to repeat, as the novelty disappears permanently. Kaprow talked about the fact that the objective audience is not the protection of freedom of expression, but the latter may refuse the glory, if he doesn't know how to deal with its consequences.

the Festival as a kind of happening

our annual events Such as Burning Man and fair in Oregon, contribute to the popularization of this style among the common people. Festivals are a positive and successful examples of the happenings. In such events can participate anyone and try to create something amazing and unique. In fact, the festival does not imply the presence of the audience in the usual sense. Someone is the author of ideas. But everyone can become a demiurge, and to change the course of events.

All the beauty in spontaneity and improvisation. In this happening like real life. It actually and is it. Because there is no border between art and life. However, not all festivals are happening. To this style are only those who do not have pre-conceived scenario. Good examples are the Burning Man and fair in Oregon. Every year they attract tens of thousands of people who want to share with the world and some with others their ideas, to bring them to life.

Good happening – inspirational!

Allan Kaprow, the founder of the direction, the person who in the 1950-ies offered to people on the street to have a glass of wine from the hands of a stranger, and thus to engage in the arts, has written a manual to help all novice demiurge. It well illustrates what is happening. Examples of Kaprow inspire and give food for thought, even people far from the art. Here is the statement in the acronym:
  • first you need to forget everything you know about the traditional art. You can not dwell on the forms. Contemporary art does not involve any writing, painting, or staging plays or composing music, or shooting movies. Happening – at the same time and all of the above at once, and something completely new.
  • the Line between life and art should be as thin as possible. Truly talented happening makes you forget about its existence even of the author.
  • Images from real life is always much deeper than those taken from the head. So you need to take a real situation and turn it into art. You can extract infinitely many from a simple trip to the store.
  • Experiment and violation of space – is a feature of such modern art forms as the happening. Theatre involves the unity of place and action. Happening same can be carried out anywhere. You can start on the nearby Avenue, and finish in the next town or on another continent.
  • Everything should happen in real time. And there is no need to coordinate the actions of all participants. In all happening for real.
  • In the actions there should be no artificiality. No need to worry about the Golden section, the poetic means of expression of speech and mathematical progressions. Our brain itself is quite able to give form to natural things.
  • to create a happening, you need to be a part of the world. Makes no sense to spend hundreds of dollars on hiring a bulldozer if he's somewhere lay the way. You just need to go to this place and to include in your happening a road worker. If your idea involves something completely unrealistic, it is better to refuse.
  • you Must cooperate with the local authorities and not to resist them. So everything can be done much easier.
  • the meaning of the happening is not to hone all actions to perfection. This is characteristic of traditional art. Once started, happening can not be stopped or restarted.
  • Every idea can be implemented only once.
  • the Happening cannot be observed from outside. It is necessary to actively participate, to be involved physically. And this applies not only to “audience”, but also to the author.

Happenings and performances: the assessment of their artistic content

Contemporary art is extremely diverse. Artists finally managed to regain his freedom. Now they can easily break the walls between genres, directions and styles. But this is not the end. The style happening broke the wall between art and real life, the audience and the author. Sometimes it is regarded as a kind of performance. However, this is not entirely true. Of course, the nominal border between these two areas of modern art is very thin, however, it is sometimes useful to understand where she still is. Common to them is that creative experience is the end result. Performance and happening in music, images, smells, tastes, touches, seeks to show the original idea. However, each participant can turn everything on its head. For both styles characteristic pragmatism and outrageous. However, the most important difference happening from a performance is that it gives the viewer immediately is the demiurge, the plot is created in the course based on improvisations by all the participants of the action.

both the Original style was fairly radical. However, today they more and more acquire the character of a show and are often used at parties, social events, presentations. But if to happening the characteristic transition of art in real life, the performance, on the contrary, suggests that everyday life disappears, giving way to another world, invented by the author. However, in both cases the interpretation depends on the audience. Performance, happening and other kinds of contemporary art with more and more merge. But the blurring of the boundaries between them – is a positive phenomenon. The disappearance of the excessive dogmatism of performance and lack of control happening – is the way to even better interaction between the viewer and the author, everyday life and art.