Artist, Visual Artist
1927 – 1995
Who was Al Hansen?
Born in New York City, he was a friend to Yoko Ono and John Cage. While serving in Germany in World War II Hansen pushed a piano off the roof of a five-story building. This act became the foundation of one of his most recognized performance pieces, the Yoko Ono Piano Drop and inspired artists like Nam June Paik.
Hansen was a frequent visitor to The Factory, Andy Warhol's studio in New York. Hansen also studied with and worked with the composer John Cage at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Hansen was perhaps best known for his performance pieces, his participation in Happenings, and for his collages in which he often used cigarette butts and candy bar wrappers as the raw materials, among them numerous variations of a sculpture referring the Venus of Willendorf.
He wrote an important book about performance art, A Primer of Happenings and Time Space Art published by Something Else Press in 1965. In 1977 Hansen managed Los Angeles punk bands the Controllers and the Screamers in Hollywood. In the 1980s Hansen moved to Cologne, Germany where he established an art school, the Ultimate Akademie. Inspired among others by the Final Academy of Genesis P-Orridge it became a meeting point for local and international performers of the time based arts.