Interview of Al Hansen conducted 1973 November 6-13, by Paul Cummings, for the Archives of American Art.
Hansen traces his personal history, recalling his childhood and early education in Queens; his service in the armed forces; and jobs he held in social work, advertising, off-Broadway theater, and art galleries. He describes taking classes with John Groth at the Art Students League in the 1940s; with Reuben Nakian at Pratt in the 1950s; and with John Cage at the New School in 1958. He also discusses the rise of New York as an art center; his interest in film; his involvement in experimental sound and music; his approach to creating Happenings and that of other artists; organizing poetry readings at the Epitome Coffee Shop; his Hershey bar wrapper collages; the writing of his book, "A Primer of Happenings and Space Time Art," (New York: Something Else Press 1965); his interactions with Fluxus and George Maciunas; participating in the "Below Zero" show at the Reuben Gallery in 1959; attending the Destruction In Art symposium in London in 1966; and his recent exhibitions in Germany. People he recalls include Tony Smith; Pauline Goldfine [ph]; Dick Higgins; Wolf Vostell; Larry Poons; Allan Kaprow; Claes Oldenburg; Don McCarey [ph]; Jim Dine; George Brecht; Jackson Mac Low; James Waring; Marisol Escobar; Ivan Karp; Bob Watts; George Segal; Judith Dunn; Bob Dunn; Jan Müller; Nam June Paik; Raphael Ortiz; Charlotte Moorman; and Lettie Lou Eisenhauer.
Biographical / Historical:
Al Hansen (1927-1995) was an artist from New York, New York. Founder of Fluxus art movement and one of the first Happenings artists.
These interviews are part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and others.
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.