Rearrangeable Panels +
2- black and white photographs, photographer unknown.
8h x 10w in
20.32h x 25.40w cm
Alternately titled (in Assemblage) Wall, Kiosk, and Rearrangeable Panels, this piece looks like an enormous folding Japanese screen, measuring eight feet high and over twenty feet long, with panels covered in detritus and waste- eggshells, leaves, and broken mirrors. Several of the panels are painted, one in Hoffman-like colors and two suggest a nod toward Rauschenberg, and one is painted white and black. The piece was designed to sit on the floor of the gallery, and was to be shown in a variety of positions (as the title implies), each position changing the relationship of the object to the space that contains it.
Rearrangeable Panels represents Kaprow's transition from Action Painting to environment and happening art. It was predicated upon Kaprow’s desire to capture the “endlessly transforming real world.” At this time, Kaprow began to investigate the effect on space through the incorporation of three-dimensional and found objects. Rearrangeable Panels combines abstract painting, collages and assemblages and every time it was exhibited, the curator or artist was required to make choices about how to configure the panels, a foreshadowing of Kaprow's use of audience participation. Through this collaborative element of construction and in its unique response to each site in which it was placed, Kaprow challenged the notion of artistic authorship.
He states: It was clearly part of transforming reality. It gave everyone a sense of instant involvement in a kind of crude everyday reality, which was quite a relief after the high-art attitude of exclusion from the real world. It also allowed us to give up a certain kind of seriousness that traditional art making required. What’s more, the materials were available everywhere on street corners at night. And if you didn’t sell these environmental constructions, you’d just throw them back into the garbage can. Why not just throw them out? It was very liberating to think of oneself as part of an endlessly transforming real world.
On the occasion of the artist's first happening in New York in 1959, Rearrangeable Panels was used as a framework for actions allowing the active participation of the public in a universe of colored lights, sounds and smells.
Allan Kaprow (1927-2006) was an American painter and assemblagist who is recognized for establishing the concepts of performance art. For Kaprow, art was found in the everyday and happenings were unique experiential events dependent upon each viewer's reaction. Happenings had no structure and there was no distinction between the performers and the audience. Through happenings, the separation between life, art, artist, and audience was blurred.