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A cast photo for Claes Oldenburg’s Circus: Ironworks/Fotodeath, performed at the Reuben Gallery, Feb, 21–26, 1961, with Edgar lakeney, Max Baker, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, Henry Geldzahler, Clifford Smith (seated, left to right); Gloria Graves, Carl Lehmann-Haupt, Olga Adorno, Pat Oldenburg, Marilyn Jaffee, Judy Tersch, Claire Wesselmann, Chippy McClellan, Lucas Samaras (standing, left to right). Photo © Robert R. McElroy/Licensed by VAGA, New York, New York
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by Barbara Pollack

When the Pace Gallery opened its “Happenings” exhibition earlier this month, the crowd packing the 25th Street gallery space entered a time machine. Industrial tin walls packed chockablock with photographs and artifacts transported viewers back to the Reuben Gallery in the East Village, where Allan Kaprow staged his seminal 18 Happenings in 6 Parts in 1959. Plenty of the artists who participated in the original happenings were on hand -- Red Grooms, Robert Whitman, Carolee Schneemann, Lucas Samaras, Jim Dine -- and Kaprow (who died in 2006) was certainly present as well, if only in spirit.


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