John Cage was more influential and highly regarded as a composer, musician, philosopher, writer and thinker than hardly any other artist in the second half of the 20th century. But his work as a visual artist and his influence on art are much less known than his music. As part of the year long programme “A Year from Monday“, that the Akademie der Künste is dedicating to the avant-garde artist on his 100th birthday, the exhibition “John Cage and …“ focuses on Cage as a visual artist. Curated by Wulf Herzogenrath, the exhibition links Cage’s visual work with the history of art of the 20th century, throwing new light on the influence of the European modern on Cage and outlining mutual inspirations.

The exhibition unites the sound environment, statements and works by Cage since the 1930s with those who inspired him and his friends and pupils – from Richard Buckminster Fuller, Marcel Duchamp, Nam June Paik, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves and others. With works on paper, media and sound artistic works, installations, notations, photographical and film documentaries, the most important influences and inspirations on John Cage as a visual artist are reflected in a concentrated space, e.g. Rauschenbergs Black Painting No. 1, which Cage had in his apartment until his death 1992. There is a new discussion of cultural interplays, such as the tension between Asia, Zen and White Writing (Mark Tobey), European art and synaesthesia, Cage’s influence on Happening, Fluxus, Zero and conceptual art.

For the first time there is a special focus on the relationship between John Cage’s development as a visual artist and the departures of the classic modern in Europe. It is little known that Cage attentively followed these developments, acquired a Jawlensky picture at the age of 22 and organised exhibitions by Klee – originals by Jawlenksy, Klee, Moholy-Nagy and Anni and Josef Albers demonstrate these influences.

Parallel to the exhibition a “DuMont Dokumente” volume published by Wulf Herzogenrath and Barbara Nierhoff-Wielk is appearing. Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and Karin und Uwe Hollweg Stiftung helped to realise the exhibition and the book. The exhibition will be shown from July 14, 2012 in parallel to the Salzburg Festival in the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg.


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