Rachel Siporin-Homage to the Happenings: the Artist as Performer and Audience

Bowery Gallery is pleased to present an exhibit of recent work by Rachel Siporin.

Taking inspiration from the “Happenings” of the 1960’s, Siporin’s new work focuses on the theme of Performers and the Audience.


Morning Paper, Color Etching, 16”X20”, 2017


She states, “Although I reference the period photographs of the Happenings by Robert R. McElroy, and juxtapose elements from different performances, these works are first and foremost, constructed figure compositions with their own original narratives. “


Flower, Color Etching, 16X20”, 2016



Rags , Color Etching, 14”X20,” 2017


A little background about the art scene of the 1960’s: the “Happenings” took place in NYC warehouses, lofts, and downtown galleries. There was no stage.   The audience and performers inhabited the same space, and there was no attempt to create an illusion of reality in the performers’ choice of crudely crafted props and costumes, (tin foil mask, rag dress, or fabric flower), adding to the irony and absurd content of the performance.

These were participatory events, which, as critic Gary Blotting remarks, exchanged the “matrix of story and plot for the equally complex matrix of incident and event.”

Siporin says, “… I seek to honor a world that no longer exists, the close-knit community of 1960’s Downtown New York City artists, and to celebrate the irreverent, ironic, collaborative spirit of the Happenings”.


Car Crash, Color Etching, 8”X10”, 2016


Siporin’s work on exhibit at Bowery gallery are color etchings. When talking about her explorations in the medium of printmaking she says, “I am a painter by training and it is only in the last five years that I have become a dedicated printmaker. In 2014, my first show at the Bowery Gallery explored the process of the Color Reduction Woodcut. In 2015 I embarked on a new artistic exploration, multiple plate color etchings. At first, I found the reverse image presented an obstacle, a set back. I now look forward to see what the reverse image reveals. As I pull the paper from the plate, I see unexpected dramatic possibilities in light and space and experience the revelation of the subconscious relationships between the figures. It is a process of discovery where the printed image leads the way”.


Light Bulb, Color Etching, 16”X12”, 2016


2_hanging lights couple

Hanging Lights Couple, Color Etching, 18”X 28”, 2017


She continues:  “I originally found the copper plate to be a rigid and fixed surface.  I now regard the plate as flexible, no different from a canvas. Areas are scraped, and figures are redrawn, or erased.  As I unearth the narrative and space, plates are added to form diptychs and triptychs, as the story unfolds. The color etchings in Homage to the Happenings utilize multiple plates and the overlap of cross -hatching and aquatint increase color resonance and range….”

9_fashion show diptych

Fashion Show Diptych, Color Etching, 12”X32”, 2017


“…In the printing of the final print, each plate is run through the press several times, with rollers used to apply additional color and pattern, thus making each print unique”.

17_Three Graces middle panel Fashion show)

Three Graces, Color Etching, 12”X16”, 2017



RG. and the Blank Canvas, Color Etching, 8”X10”, 2016- 2017.


Homage to the Happenings: the Artist as Performer and Audience

 October 31- November 25, 2017

Opening Reception Saturday November 4,  3-6 PM

Artist Talk / Content and Process  Saturday November 18,  3:00 PM



bowery logo orig_new


530 West 25th Street, 4th floor

NY, NY   10001

Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 11-6pm. For more information, call 646-230-6655


Further reading:

There was a substantial exhibit at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery which presented the spirit of this period entitled,  “Inventing Downtown”. Here is the Grey Art Gallery  press release:


Bowery Gallery is very proud to carry on the tradition of artist- run galleries.  It was founded over 45 years ago. 


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