Rutgers & the Avant Garde

New Jersey was a hotbed of experimental art in the mid-2oth century, especially in and around Rutgers-New Brunswick. The movement, sometimes called “Fluxus,” was led by philosopher, writer, artist, and Rutgers professor Allan Kaprow (1927-2006).  Kaprow is widely credited with inventing the “Happening,” a participatory art event that foreshadowed today’s performance art.

An exclusive interview with Kaprow is featured in this State of the Arts story from the archives. Also interviewed are artists Lucas Samaras and Robert Whitman, both students who went on to wide acclaim.  “Off Limits: Rutgers and the Avant Garde 1957 to 1963″ was a 1999 exhibit at the Newark Museum curated by Joseph Jacobs.  The story was produced by Amber Edwards.

The Princeton University Art Museum has a new show, “New Jersey as Non-Site,” that explores how artists all around the state were experimenting with new forms and ideas in the mid 20th century. Two of the most iconic are Robert Smithson, known for his earthworks including “Spiral Jetty,” and George Segal, the sculptor whose “Breadline” can be found at the National Mall and at Grounds for Sculpture. See the new State of the Arts story about this exhibition here.

"Breadline" by George Segal

“Breadline” by George Segal

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