Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Will Of Iron: John Cale Interviewed

On Wisdom, Love, and Optimism: 7 Essential Interview Anthologies

In 2001, Adam Bly founded Seed Magazine with the vision of exploring the social, creative, intellectual, economic, and political transformations underpinned by science. One of the magazine's most beloved features has been the Seed Salon, pairing a scientist and artist, humanist, or other non-scientist in a conversation about issues of common interest and shared significance. In 2010, Bly collected 12 of these conversations inScience Is Culture: Conversations at the New Intersection of Science + Society -- a who's who of contemporary art, science, literature, and philosophy, methodically and thoughtfully bridging the age-old yet, as these conversations prove, artificial divide between science and culture. These tête-à-têtes include momentous pairings like David Byrne + Daniel Levitin, Benoit Mandelbrot + Paola Antonelli, E.O Wilson + Daniel Dennett, and Jonathan Lethem + Janna Levin. (It's also worth nothing that of the seven books in this omnibus, this one is by far the most gender-balanced in perspectives and representation -- something that would be commendable were it not for the tragic admission of male-centricity still being the norm implicit to such commendation.)
Here's a taste from the salon conversation between author Alan Lightman and choreographer Richard Colton, who discuss the relationship between art and time:
Alan Lightman: "If I had a few hours or longer, I could work on a writing project. If I had half an hour, I could do errands or pay bills. If I only had two or three minutes, I could answer telephone messages. I realized that I had carved up the entire day into five-minute units of efficiency, and I was appalled. I was very upset to think that i was becoming a robot -- and I'm wondering, how do you use time in your life?
Richard Colton: One of the things that came to mind when you told this story is something I remember reading during the Gertrude Stein phase, which is that Stein believed the first ingredient for creativity was boredom. You must trust that the mundane will lead to something interesting.
John Cage also taught that if you let the duration of a movement or musical phrase just keep going, it will almost always become more interesting, which is the exact opposite of carving something up into small increments. You will go through a period where the music seems boring, but if you let it keep going it can become quite interesting."

The Next Stage: Merce Cunningham at the Walker Art Center

In March 2011, the Walker announced the single largest visual arts acquisition in its history: sets, props, costumes, and selected documentation of visionary choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919–2009), a towering figure in American art and culture. Known for his collaborations with numerous leading visual and musical artists and designers of the past 60 years, he forever changed the essence of dance. In celebration of a nearly 50-year relationship with Cunningham, the Walker offers a 10-day festival of dance works, talks, and workshops as well as the first of 
several exhibitions drawn from this new collection. The festival concludes with what will be 
Minnesota’s final chance to see the Merce Cunningham Dance Company before this exquisite group of dancers disbands (per Cunningham’s wishes) at the end of 2011.

So Percussion Celebrates John Cage at Stanford

“There’s a beautiful West Coast nexus of music,” said Adam Sliwinski of So Percussion, talking about that quartet’s Oct. 26 Stanford Lively Arts show, titled “We Are All Going in Different Directions: A John Cage Celebration.” He continued, saying: “Henry Cowell influenced John Cage; so did Pete Seeger’s father, Charles [both Bay Area composers and teachers] ... and, in the most fascinating collision, [serialist composer] Arnold Schoenberg, of all people, happened to be right there too [in Los Angeles]. And there were all these gamelan orchestras showing up. We’re a percussion group — and percussion music would’ve existed in a completely different way without Cage’s crazy ideas.”....

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Roratorio in UK Reviews

Photo by Anna Finke the dancers danced – for 60 minutes, non-stop – Cage orchestrated the magnificent cacophony of his own score, which featured his own, singsong recital of fragments from Joyce's text, a mix of recorded sounds (chanting monks, screaming sirens, crowing cocks) that referenced every one of the 2,462 places mentioned in the Wake, and finally a band of traditional Irish musicians and singers, playing live.

...Roaratorio was earnest in delivery, typical of Cunningham, but with stolen smiles amidst all the hand-held set dancing that permeated a cacophony of sound by long-time collaborator, John Cage. like a dance class in the city that keeps breaking out into an Irish get-together, dancers in mix-and-match colours, holding hands and jigging, while sounds fly in as if through an open window - traffic, children in the park, snatches of Irish fiddle-playing, chunks of James Joyce poetry, a crooning vagrant wandering by. The score is one of the many made for Merce, his partner, by John Cage, the mischievous, ever-stimulating composer and apostle of chance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Joe Baum's Nasturtiums: A Tribute

It was the mention of nasturtiums on a trendy menu recently that reminded me of Joe Baum. Considered by many to be the greatest restaurateur of the last century, it is hard to imagine that he died thirteen years ago, in 1998, October fifth to be exact, during summer's last gasp.

.....Even with foraging, Joe was ahead of his time, sourcing wild mushrooms picked by John Cage, noted avant-garde composer and celebrated mycologist. If it wasn't just right, or fascinating somehow, it wasn't for Joe.

full article:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Robert Morris on Silence

Robert Morris’s art is an essential part of every major museum collection on the planet, and the catalogue for his latest drawing show in Valencia, Spain is as large as a telephone book.  In the following, he urges all of us to STFU.
Looking For Silence

Mode Records presents the John Cage Variety Show, directed by Miguel Frasconi. September 16, 2011, The Stone, NYC. (excerpt)

An evening of pieces by John Cage, performed simultaneously and independently. Works include In a Landscape, Music for Amplified Toy Piano, Cheap Imitation, Variations II, Solo for Sliding Trombone, Composed Improvsiation, 45′ for a Speaker, excerpts from Song Books, early songs and an ensemble performance of 4’33″ (not included in this excerpt).
Roland Auzet (snare drum), Richard Carrick & Chris Cochrane (guitars), Martha Cluver (soprano), Miguel Frasconi (toy pianos, electronics), Christopher McIntyre (trombone, voice), Jovita Zähl (piano).

McLuhan Thinkers Converge in Toronto First International McLuhan Conference and Festival

TORONTO, ON — The legendary media theorist Marshall McLuhan will be celebrated in Toronto at the most significant gathering of McLuhan thinkers and creators ever assembled. Then I Now I Next: International Conference and DEW Line Festival runs from November 7 to November 10. Registration is now open.

Black Mountain College and Its Legacy September 15, 2011 – October 29, 2011

September 9, 2011
The exhibition Black Mountain College and Its Legacy will open at the Loretta Howard Gallery on Thursday September 15, and continue through October 29, 2011.
The exhibition features more than 100 works by 35 artists including Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Robert Rauschenberg, Dorothea Rockburne, Kenneth Snelson, Jack Tworkov and Cy Twombly among others. The exhibition focusses on works created at Black Mountain and on a broad selection of important “legacy” works.
In addition to major painting and works on paper, the exhibition includes a wide range of media for which Black Mountain was known. Historic documentary photographs of Black Mountain faculty and students highlight the organic, multidisciplinary environment that came to define the college. Works by Harry Callahan, Hazel Larsen Archer and Aaron Siskind formed an important turning point in experimental photography. Newly discovered footage of Merce Cunningham’s 1964 World Tour will be shown publicly for the first time along with video, audio recordings and musical performances by John Cage.
The back gallery features several models by Buckminster Fuller as well as a range of sculpture and ceramics made at Black Mountain. A special display will highlight poetry published at Black Mountain. Loretta Howard Gallery will host a press brunch on Wednesday, September 14 at 9:30 a.m. to preview the exhibition. On Thursday, September 15 the gallery will host an opening reception featuring a harp performance of John Cage’s In a Landscape which premiered at Black Mountain in 1948. The gallery will also host a poetry reading on Wednesday, October 19. The exhibition is co-curated by Loretta Howard and Robert S. Mattison and is accompanied by a catalog.
Please contact Kate Miles for images and more information:
Loretta Howard Gallery
525 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends) at Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends) at Wesleyan University’s Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts
Exhibition curated by Andrea Miller-Keller opens during Alvin Lucier: A Celebration at Wesleyan University, a three-day festival that includes a symposium, concert series, and film screenings.  

The exhibition in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Alvin Lucier (and His Artist Friends), curated by Andrea Miller-Keller, will offer a broad and colorful overview of the composer’s distinguished career over nearly six decades, including a collection of audio presentations, performance videos, scores and archival memorabilia. A special section will include both a presentation of Mr. Lucier’s landmark 1969 piece, “I Am Sitting in a Room” and an exploration of its widespread influence on other artists over the past four decades.  It will also examine the sources of inspiration and exchange of ideas among Mr. Lucier and his some of his artist-friends, including Sol LeWitt, John Ashbery, John Cage and others
November 4–December 11, 2011
Center for the Arts
Wesleyan University

283 Washington Terrace
Middletown, CT

Monday, September 26, 2011

FT Review of Queen Elizabeth Hall Concert

John Cage sells out – updated with live report

He literally sold out - a concert in London that is. More news here:

Every Day is a Good Day

Excellent Blog Post overview of the exhibition:

Review of Every Day is a Good Day

Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life - NYU

Several interesting Cage connections here, primarily through Cage's New School students, early Fluxus etc. Julia Robinson curated the "Fluxus at NYU" portion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Organ2/ASLSP As SLow aS Possible - 10th anniversary

In a medieval church in Halberstadt, Germany, American avant-garde composer John Cage’s music project for organ “Organ2/ASLSP As SLow aS Possible” held its 10-year anniversary last week. Though a decade may seem like a milestone worth celebrating, the anniversary elicited little fanfare, and for good reason: it still has 629 years to go before being completed. The composition, which started playing on what would’ve been Cage’s 89th birthday, Sept. 5, 2001, at St. Burchardi Church, is set to go on until the last notes are played in the far off year of 2640, so long as the funding for it remains stable until then. The next big landmark for the piece will be in 60 years, when the first of the composition’s eight parts will be completed.

Game Theory at the Cornish Main Gallery through October 19

Game Theory ,“ a group exhibition examining chance, participation and play in art practices opens September 8 at the Cornish College of the Arts Main Gallery, 1000 Lenora Street. Curated by Cable Griffith, the exhibit was inspired by the inquiries into chance operations by Cornish legends Merce Cunningham and John Cage and will be accompanied by a series of music, dance and theater performances by Cornish students and faculty. The opening reception is September 7 from 5-8pm. The show runs through October 19.

Cunningham Farewell Tour to come to Bard - Friday, Sept. 9

One of the last performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Bard College, home to the John Cage Trust


Suite for FiveAntic Meet, andSounddance.

September 9 and 10 at 8 p.m.
September 11 at 2 p.m.

John Cage Trust Scholarship

Laura Kuhn and the John Cage Trust have announced an academic scholarship program at Bard College for a select music major, along with a new percussion program

Monday, September 5, 2011

"John Cage" authors Fake Steve Jobs Advice Book

This one caught my eye - a fake Steve Jobs advice book printed in Taiwan and authored by non other than "John Cage." This is apparently a very common practice in China, as they obsess over the succes of the Apple co-founder.

This brings up an interesting parallel between Jobs and Cage that I have no doubt was lost on everyone involved except me.