By Alison Knowles
This collection of scores presents a comprehensive overview of Knowles’ seminal early performance/event pieces from 1961 to 1965. These scores range from well-known directives (“Make a salad” and “Tie up the audience”) to more elaborate orchestrations, including pieces conceived for Nam June Paik and George Brecht and several relating to Knowles’ work as a printer.
Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear Pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as a “poor man’s keys to the new art,” or a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.
5 x 8 inches