Colette ROBERTS. INTERVIEW WITH ROY LICHENSTEIN p. 123 Lichtenstein considers it rather repetitios to talk about Pop as being related to commercial art technique. The technique relates to a kind of feeling about the subject and the essential thing about Pop is that it uses what was formerly discredited–object matter and method. Amongst the older masters Lichenstein admits to having had periods—interest in de Kooning, Mondrian, Picasso, Matisse, later in Leger. But he was most marked by a visit to the Boit Museum last year and the work copied from inexpensive printing. However if teaching again he would start his students on abstract expressionism to help them gain experience since expressionism is really a picture of the crafts of the work. The object would be added later, but the essential is a sense of size, position, brightness. Questioned on Surrealism, Lichenstein stated his admiration for Max Ernst and Picasso. He considers that painting is not a literary statement, art must be graphic. Pop was prompted into existing by the complacency experienced in abstract expressionism… there was just nothing wrong with it, nothing to alter. Pop was an opposition to the devotion to the figure on a canvas with a background and a foreground. But also abstract expressionism had developed from a European sensibility, expressionism and brushstroke, but New Yorkers do not live that way, they are surrounded by 90 % advertising and the junk pile, a synthetic environment, « miserabilism », material grown dead through reject. Art becomes a sort of rescue mission through art, the use of objects in gocd shape found in big stores or even natural materials such as wood. Asked where Pop stood in its acceptante of the industrial world, Lichenstein considered it ambigucus, not making the point, thus different from social realism, social content painting. It is an ir,difference to that milieu. Without bill-boards, landscape is bare and desolate. Pop is an objective look at the world of appearances, but it also has its romantic aspects. Lichenstein cartoon inspired series were always about some emotion—love or war, etc., but done in an apparently removed way, therefore remote. Whatever the subjects they were depicted as if highly charged with emotion, a static accepted symbol like the masKs actors used to put on in tragedy. The feeling is automatic, pre-determined and intellectual. Considering whether the cinema could take over plastic arts Lichenstein explained that at the present time anyone would rather go to the movies than look at painting but although painting has always had a limited audience, it probably has a wider one now than before. He believes theoretically in inclusions of other arts to painting (sound, light, etc.) but in reality these would become art objects, and cumbersome. Summing up his work he considers it « tongue in cheek », using a classic medium, painting and paint, the fact that it is a plain ordinary easel painting and not an environment, making fun of it in certain ways to make it alive again. José-Augusto FRANÇA. HOW TO BE AMERICAN p. 144 Many American and European sociologists have studied this problem, but none have been able to tackle the field of visual arts. Mass communication overcomes ail other kinds of communication, since quantity is victorious over quality. However we are endebted to the Americans for the most fruitful attempt at demystification in this field. The democratisation of art in the U.S. is an important reality, dependent on multiple factors linking business and culture. « Art is good business », the number of museums has doubled in 30 years and between 1953 and 1960 the amount spent on the arts increased by 130 %, favoured by preferential fiscal legislation. It is estimated that in 1970 the « cultural market » will figure over 6 billion dollars, a large part of which will be devoted to visual arts. « Art does noy pay—it costs » is a slogan full of good will, but the fact that art is a good investment is of course understood by ail concerned. These figures guarantee the social role of art in the United States on the consumer lavel but not on the producer level, that is to say the artists. They define the basic conditions of national existence; « the American way of life » finds its roots there, its support and its very heartbeat. However American art is above ail an adventure in space. Every American critic refers to space when he speaks of painting. Space is an element of experience and New York and West toast artists create new values on a basis of their physical experience. Space, dimension, scale—the three concepts go together, leading to gestual expression which must possess certain characteristics of energy, weight, speed to give an organic response to proposed space, to fill it physically. Space spells freedom to the American artist. Their painting proclaims its liberty, it is spatial. They dream of monu-mental larger-than-life canvas, although they lose this yearning for space once outside America. Is there something simple-minded in these spatial conceptions and in the use of gigantic dimensions? Critics find the close-up « typically American », as revealed in the writings of Geldzahler, Goossen, Salomon and Hunter. The secret of « Americanity » lies probably in the interpenetration of drama and decor. Pollocq and Kline were the principal protagonists of this drama where Rothko and Reinhardt created the decor—timeless space which is the « space » necessary. Can the beginning of this drama and decor be dated 1932-33 when Hoffmann and Albers arrived in the States? From then on the Americans learnt to be American, gleaning their feeling of space from the expressionists and the Bauhaus. Twenty years later pop artists « look at the world » through mass communication, succeeding in establishing the synthesis between drama and the decor. Salomon explained in 1963 « they intensify our perception of the image, develop the scale, exagerate the form ». This action of intensifying leads to « op » in 1964, but the responsive American eye prefered the hard-adge proposais upheld by the real space of wide canvas to the cunning of big shop mode. The choise made by a young critic Lucy Lippard gives us an idea of the present trend. She couples Reinhardt (pure space) with elderly Marcel Duchamp (pure action). To the new « cool-art » replies a new « hot-art » in a « why-not » attitude mentioned by Nicolas Calas in 1966, Albers and Hoffmann regulate the temperatures of each, two generations away. Declaration of space, aeclaration of independence, to be American you must like both experiences. They have now been acquired for art in the U.S. The quarrel between « centres » is over. Gérald GASSIOT-TALABOT. POP IN PARIS p. 145 It would be untrue to affirm that the impact of Pop art on young painters of the Paris school was only felt in 1963 with the Rauscherberg exhibits. American reviews are read here, « Aujourd’hui » publishes reports from the States and some pop canvases had already been hung in galleries by Daniel Cordier and Larcade. However during the three years that the Parisian public .hed the opportunity of viewing the works of masters of Pop, so American, in the Sonnabend Gallery, it played a major role in the alchemy of young French Painting. Pop made the observer take position, it created as much revoit and refusai as it did admission. Those who reacted showed that they had felt the inborn originality and realised that it was the principal event of the sixties. Pop continued to play even by paradox, on the power of representation and not on that of identification of art in the world. In this way the force of Impact of new realism appeared at a certain moment intellectually more Percussive until hampered by its abusive extrapolations, it stumbled in the back street of constat and broke up. Dada in 1966 was to have shown ail the misunderstanding of a doctrine which only left a meaning by inertia to the object. The trend inaugurated by Alain Jouffroy with the « objectorer, which called on certain members of defunct New Realism came to its second creative phase and above ail elements like Kudo, Raynaud and Pomereule. In this way the object conquered a noble position in a context which seemed in the beginning to be consecrated essentially to the myth of junk. Other artists like Télémaque, Monory, Buri knew how to give it a role of counterpoint in a creative system, which called on the irreplacable power of the image. The meeting between Pop and French artists happened through the Sonnabend galleries where ail important Pop canvases have been showh since 1963, and catalogues they published with important prefaces and translations of American critics. We must go back to the statement of new imagery to underline the phases of the dialogue. Painters concerned belonged to different trends—influence of surrealism, abstracts antecedents, new dadists, expressionist figuration. European cultural heritage gives a « secondarity » to artists, a power of taking distances which for the most lucid leads to an ability for penetration, a complexity of motivations favouring worthy creation. It is important to note the astonishing phenomenum of withering evident in part of young Parisian painting from 1944 on, and the convergence of Pop was only felt by a minority grouping however the most lively, interesting elements of the young school. The analysis of the image structure shows us where the zones of exchange were situated. Monory, Klasen, Stampfli looked to Rosenquist, whereas Télémaque studies Lichtenstein’s work in the smallest detail, but travels in the opposite direction. Whatever the comparisons, who could affirm that in ail cases it is an operation of osmosis. It is rather the pseudo-similitudes which are striking. If the Americans have benefited or suffered by the prejudice of massive simplification of the motive, numerous studies have sought to render them justice. For Europeans Rosenquist and Lichtenstein seem to dominate a group whose personal positions have often been more dissimilar than revealed. It is a fact that Pop artists develop vigorously as they diverge resolutely, and their prestige remains intact. Rosenquist is as imposing as a reference chart where the pictorial act is brought to a simple, evident function. But over them ail shines the iron sun of Lichtenstein which has run the highest trajectory and raised crucial problems at each of its stages. He it is who appears as a living symbol of Pop art and a regrettable eviction from the prize list at the lest Venice exhibition has done nothing to tarnish his prestige. Allan KAPROW. HAPPENINGS ARE DEAD – LONG LIVE HAPPENINGS p. 148 Happenings are to-day’s only underground avant-garde. Their disappearance has been announced regularly since 1958, but they still happen. But they are the only art activity that can escape the inevitable death-by-publicity because they are designed for brief life, they can never be over-exposed. At first they played the game of plannd obsolescence, then went underground to avoid the journalist. Kaprow explained in an article in 1961 that since a happening is a brief event, it may become a state of mind, or a myth, whereby the artists may achieve beautiful privacy, while free to explore something nobody will notice. The Happener is jealous of his freedom, and deflects public attention away from what he actually does. Nevertheless, there are more than forty men and women doing Happening throughout the world, probably ten have first rate talent. Numerous books have been written about it. These publications are extending the myth of an art which is nearly unknown and for ail practical purposes, unknowable. Hence it is quite in the spirit of things to introduce into this myth certain principles of action to help maintain the present good healh while discouraging direct evaluation of their effectiveness. The whole process tends to become analogous to art as do the rules of the game which can be summed up under seven headings. 1) the line between the happening and daily life should be kept as fluid and perhaps indistinct as possible—the reciprocation between the man-made and the ready-made will be at its maximum force this way. 2) themes, materials, actions and the associations they evoke are to be taken from anywhere except from the arts, their derivatives and their milieu—the chance is that a separate art will develop. The source of happening is non-art and the quasi-art that results always contains something of this uncertain Identity. 3) the happening should be dispersed over several, widely-snaced, sometimes moving and changing, locales—one can experiment by gradually widening the distances between the events in a Happening. 4) time, closely bound up with things and spaces, should be variable and independent of the convention of continuity—whatever is to happen should do so in its natural time. 5) the composition of ail materials, actions, images and their times and spaces, should be undertaken in as artless and practical way as possible—a happening can be composed by several people to include the participation of weather, animais and insects. 6) happenings should be unrehearsed, performed by non-professionals once only—unlike repertory arts the happening’s freedom is bound up precisely with their use of realms of action that cannot be fixed, there is nothing for a professionnal actor to demonstrate and nothing to improve. 7) there should not be (and usually cannot be) an audience to watch e happening. Happenings are an active art, require that creation and realization, artwork and appreciation, artwork and life, be inseparable. (Extract from « Artforum », March 1966.) G.R. SWENSON. AMERICAN PAINTING 1946-1966 p. 156 If the story of art is best told throught its masters, the story of American paintaing in the last twenty years can best be related through four artists– Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist. Jackson Pollock is the most exhuberant, a source of lively pleasure. Misguided critics even a few years ago were saying that his technique was something any child could do, but this is misleading. The colours are interwoven with intense lyricism, a surprisingly esthetic evenness pervades the whole canvas. Following first one colour or pattern then another becomes a new way of seeing. These elements, separated in the mind, can then be put back together in a process of superposition rather than reintegration. the sensations even evoke movement from the viewer, mirroring the city. Pollock had not acquired knowledge of true art—he invented it for himself. Open and optimistic like a tinkering inventor, he hit upon technical solutions. Willem de Kooning’s Women were signs that post-war optimism was ending, by using a traditional subject renewing alliances to steady the course of young painting. Until over forty, de Kooning did not meet his subject head on, but through glasses coloured by theories and friends. His European roots and his concern for the figure are abstracted until the early fifties. The sweep of his brush is grand and sure and a few swipes of pale and negligible colour become masterful, an object of moral contemplation. The soul is covered with realism, social goals and acquired righteousness, but there is also a rare quality of sight which sees wholeness. The intellectual interest of Jasper Johns’work is amusing, yet a little thin. The surfaces however are as beautiful as some of the best abstraction. Johns implies that easel painting and the use of the picture plane are not the dead concepts critics say they are, that « action » and the « new » and modernist aversion to image are debatable. Initial reaction to Robert Rauschenberg is stronger through his complex, multi-faceted sensibility which produces a « shock of recognition ». He criticizes the folly of art, his point could be ironic, bitter or gentle but his tone is human. Although accepting current and traditional theories for use in his own painting he always adds an element or object to warn the viewer that FIND ART DOC