How Happenings

February 25, 2015 3:25 PM

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"Welcome back, my friends to the show that never ends..." Who knew that masterful track from prog-rockers Emerson, Lake and Palmer would prove so prescient in tone and spirit? But I think it helps define how the discordant tone of the art world and its laser-focused attachment to economics has eclipsed critical analysis of work in lieu of potential star power in global auction rooms. To step away from the grotty, finance-driven side of ArtWorld Funhouse, (as I'm calling it now), I think the idea of Happenings play an even stronger role in the ongoing miasma of art world plutocracies that renders it bland. Happenings offers little financial reward but pays enormous dividends in cultural commissions. Consistent in its momentum, promiscuous in style, the group compels you to participate.

Composer, writer and artist John Cage held a "proto-Happening" in 1952 at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Featuring a disparate and energetic program included the following: Cage reading Meister Eckhart, Charles Olson and M.C. Richards reciting poetry, Robert Rauschenberg showing his White...

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