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John Cage: Watercolors, Selected Drawings and Prints

Nov 18, 2004-Dec 18, 2004

Press Release | Works | Essay by Ray Kass


ZONE:Chelsea Center for the Arts, presents its second exhibition in 2004 of visual art works by the late avant-garde composer, writer, artist and philosopher John Cage (1912-1992).


John Cage: Watercolors, Selected Drawings and Prints,* articulates the relationship of Cage뭩 watercolor paintings to his important involvement with printmaking, during which his fourteen year-long (1978 1992) experience at Crown Point Press transformed the traditional discipline of etching as surely as he had reinvented our idea of music thirty years earlier. His late-career watercolor paintings were created at the Mountain Lake Workshop in the rural Appalachian Mountains of Virginia between 1983 and 1990. They demonstrate, like his graphic works, a profound sense of beauty not usually associated with Cage뭩 dismissal of conventional aesthetics. The watercolors shown here reveal the dynamic interaction with his graphic art works (mostly unique images), including the Ryoanji drawings that occupied his attention for eleven years. This exhibition offers an essential visual component to complement Cage뭩 lifelong achievement as America뭩 foremost avant-garde composer and artist, and highlights his role as the principal mediator of the influence of Asian culture and philosophy on his generation and those to follow. Cage뭩 visual art, like his writing, brings an even wider audience to his uniquely pioneering work and contributes to a broader understanding of his strategic use of 밹hance operations in his music, writing, printmaking and painting as a way to redirect our pre-conceived and authoritarian attitudes toward the arts.


* Guest-curated by Ray Kass, founder and director of the Mountain Lake Workshop, in which John Cage produced his watercolor paintings between 1983 and 1990


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