One example is Music Walk, a piece composed for a range of different instruments and noise making devices. The score (above) is an exceptional work of minimalist art. A similar aesthetic can be found in Cage's Atlas Eclipticalis, which was composed by tracing star maps onto musical paper (below).
Cage move's into a more geometric abstractions with in his score for William's Mix, a piece that integrates country sounds and city sounds. His geometric mood is even more pronounced in his score for the Fontana Mix, which was performed by using overlapping transparencies containing random shapes and points. Here is an image from each:
Cage also produced works that were not intended as scores or directly linked to his musical compositions. One example, I believe, is Global Village, based on a phrase from Marhall McLuhan (below). Here he used smoke to stain the paper.
Cage also made some pieces on Plexiglass to honor the passing of his long-time friend, Marcel Duchamp:
Cage also collaborated with Duchamp. Notably, he composed music for Duchamp's portion of Hans Richter's film, Dreams that Money Can Buy. Here is the result:
Duchamp was not Cage's only friend in the art world. He also knew Mondrian, Breton, Pollock, deKooning, Phillip Guston, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Nam June Peik (who made a video in his honor). William Anastasi regularly played chess with Cage, and, en route to those encounters, made his famous subway drawings, by placing a pen in each hand and letting the train's motion produce random marks. Here is an example:
Ending with Anastasi allows one to see how well Cage's drawings hold up in comparison to those of visual artists. Moreover, Cage's obsession with automatism undoubtedly helped to inspire this work. Thus, in remembering Cage the composer, we must not forget his contributions to visual art, and his work--both musical and visual--can be a continuing source of inspiration.
His watercolors are also really beautiful, and driven be an amazing minimalist aesthetic! I just saw these two pieces at the Phillips Collection a couple of weeks back.ReplyDelete
By the way, the Jasper Johns exhibit that's on at the Phillips right now is very nice. It's print-making from across his entire career. Well worth a visit!
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