1959-18 happenings in 6 part by Allen Kaprow
In the Early Fall of 1959, a form letter was sent by "Reuben-Kaprow Associates" to many people in the New York metropolitan area. "Eighteen happenings will take place...." it began and, after listing the dates and time, invited the reader "..to collaborate with the artist, Mr. Allan Kaprow, in making these events take place... As on of the seventy-five persons present, you will become a part of the happenings; you will simultaneously experience them." After a brief message from Kaprow and a list of his exhibition credits, it stated, "The present event is created in a medium which Mr. Kaprow finds refreshing to leave untitled."
Inside the loft gallery, three smaller rooms had been crated, their walls made of a framework of wood covered with semitransparent plastic. In each room, different numbers of folding chairs had been arranged, and the lighting in each room was different. When those who had made reservations arrived, they were given a program sheet and three small cards stapled together. The program sheet contained instructions explaining the performance was divided into six parts, signified by the ringing of a bell. Instructions were given to participants on the three cards instructing them to sit in certain rooms during certain parts. The performance consisted of series of 18 individual happenings - one per room for all six parts - so that no one person was able to view every happening. The happenings themselves were varied - in some parts, performers, dressed in street clothes, simply walked slowly into a room and performed a series of choreographed stiff movements. In other parts, oranges were squeezed by a solemn-faced girl into 12 individual glasses and drank one at a time. Another happening consisted of a man painting on a canvas, facing apart from the "audience" in his room. All performances were accompanied by mechanized music at odd intervals and various lighting changes.