Lives and works in New York


Over the past 40 years John Halpern’s art and films have approached and challenged some of the more pressing issues of our time with humor, contemplation and aesthetic intelligence. Allan Kaprow, the initator of the 1960s Happening  movement, said that Halpern’s (see below NEW CONSUME) projects are like “Fluxus with responsibility.

In 1977, Halpern co-founded Art Corporation of America Incorporated or Art Corp, an artists’ collaborative. Together, they launched Bridging, a creative solution to the problematics posed by the extraordinary presence terrorism had in mass media at the time. The serene, celebratory spectacle atop all of New York’s bridges, which became appropriated city infrastructure, captured major media attention and transformed news into art for millions of viewers worldwide. The artists, all of whom were arrested and later dismissed, technically climbed up the elegant, arched suspension cables of all the bridges to reach the summits. Traffic in and out of Manhattan was disrupted city-wide. BRIDGING won Best News of the Year Award, 1977, for ABC TV / Eyewitness News. Joseph Beuys said that “Bridging is the first social-sculpture to use mass-media as art.”.

The collaborative nature and creative rigor intrinsic to the success of Bridging was not lost on Halpern. It had deep impact and resonance in his collaborative and interactive works over the following decades. Joseph Beuys invited Halpern to participate with the Free University in Germany and they collaborated on Joseph Beuys /Transformer, 1988, a television-sculpture and film portrait of Beuys produced during Beuys’ Guggenheim exhibition in 1979.

Transformer is in most major contemporary art museums’ permanent collections and has been translated into seven languages.In the late ‘80s, Halpern created New Consume and Art For The 21st Century (featured at Tate Modern, 1993), engaging in 10 more years of public interactive art and media sculpture internationally. These works put the viewer in the position of artist/protagonist with the motto: “Consumers are the producers of the future.” This maxim was exemplified by works such as Smokesculpture – sending cigarette smoke back to cigarette factories with 1,000 participants; Fresh Air – mobile, interactive breathing stations comprised of sealed glass cubicles containing high-yield, oxygen-producing plants with closed-circuit respiration equipment, enabling over 100,000 people to exchange air between plants and each other in Europe and America; and Breathsculpture – the artist lived in an hermetically sealed glass house for 10 days with 10,000 plants, breathing once per minute in Holland. New Consume won a prize from the Swiss government’s Department of Industry and Economy for “ALPS,” a large-sized art cookie in the form of a mountain that engaged out-of-work people and the public in transforming the economy when buying/eating the Alps cookie. The motto here was “have a bite, change the econom

John Halpern. CAI Capri QR Activation. Day 5. 2022.