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  Happenings in the 1960s were multimedia events animated by artists such as the composer John Cage and the painters Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow. An offshoot of Dada, they emphasized the spontaneous and transient elements in performance while manipulating performers, props and audience in ways designed to break down barriers between creator and spectator. A Happening was neither an exhibit nor a theatrical event, but the site of an experiment in perception and as such was linked to Conceptual Art. As part of the Pop phenomenon, Happenings championed the development of art forms away from the formal traditions of fine art and the exhibition space. Thus they might be sited in parking lots, factories or in the street, and might involve materials not associated with fine art, for example rubber tyres, water, fat, ice cubes, and, in the case of Joseph Beuys\'s Fluxus, live and dead animals. Its emphasis on transient effects, and its challenge to notions of the permanence of art and of aesthetic values, made the Happening one of the most dynamic forms of artistic expression of the 1960s. MG PD

Further reading M. Kirby, Happenings: an Illustrated Anthology.



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