Taking a Shoe for a Walk
6 to 11 May, 2014
Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona
Taking a Shoe for a Walk, activity
Responsible of the reinvention: Virginia Librado
Tired of the way the word happening has spread its meaning, and conscious of the evolution that his work has suffered from the big happenings of the beginning of the 1960s to the small format events that he is starting to develop, Allan Kaprow decides to adopt in 1968 an expression taken from Michael Kirby, activities, assuming that the most important aspect of these pieces is the action and that 'doing' is what grants their meaning.
From the beginning of the 1970s, Kaprow's work is focused on activities development that we could define as action devices and self-consciousness tools. These pieces are increasingly 'less abstract, less conceptual on the implications, more personal and more accessible to people feelings'. In most cases, they are developed in private ambients, everyday life, among reduced groups, and they end not when the action is finished, but when participants share their experience.
Sharing is a tool that Allan Kaprow took from the feminist groups in which his first wife, Rachel Vaughan participated, mainly at the Womanhouse of Los Angeles, founded in 1972 by her colleagues of the recently created programme of Feminist Art at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and which was based on an artistic community experience that wanted to highlight women's experiences. In Kaprow's words, this is one of the moments with more evolution in his work, and led him to adopt new tools: 'one of the forms I adopted from feminist consciousness raising was the form of a group of people sitting around in a circle and sharing their personal experiences, without being interrupted or challenged. Up until that moment, I had never provided a way in the earlier happenings and activities for people to share their experience once they'd finished a piece'. This sharing of experiences as a device to assimilate the meaning of activities becomes an essential aspect of his work, and leads to the idea of the 'policy of what it is personal', a key idea when it comes to explaining the relationship between art and life.
Fundació Antoni Tàpies
Carrer Aragó, 255
08007 Barcelona, Catalonia