[William Mahin, Lette Eisenhauer, and Charles Simon Atop Giant "Mountain" Construction in "The Courtyard," A Happening by Allan Kaprow, New York City]

Lawrence N. Shustak (American, born 1926)

Gelatin silver print
23.9 x 15.9 cm (9 7/16 x 6 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Anonymous Gift, 2002
Accession Number:
  • Description

    These photographs of Kaprow's The Courtyard (1962) were made by Lawrence Shustak, a chronicler of downtown bohemia who happened upon the scene with photographer and darkroom sharer Robert Frank. Composed of discordant noise, circling bicyclists, tires swinging from windows, and showers of spot-lit, glittering tin foil, The Courtyard was a modern-day fable (set in a hotel for transients on Bleecker Street) showing the ascension of a goddess in the guise of a teenage girl, dressed in a nightgown and carrying a transistor radio blaring the latest hits. During the piece, she slowly made her way through the audience and climbed a ladder up a giant mountainlike sculpture in the middle of the courtyard. Striking cheesecake poses for a pair of paparazzi on a mattress (the fan attaining the immortality of the starlet), the girl was then swallowed up by another mountain descending from the rooftop-a deus ex machina for our media age.

    These three images in this group were reproduced in Allan Kaprow's influential compendium of avant-garde performance from around the world entitled Assemblage-Environments-Happenings (1966).

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and inscribed by artist in pencil, verso BC, BRC: "IMAGE __ ", "L.N. SHUSTAK"

  • See also