Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Plexigram I—VIII, 1969 - John Cage
About the Work
About Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Plexigram I—VIII
In 1969, the noted composer John Cage created a series of eight "plexigrams" to commemorate his close friend Marcel Duchamp, who died in 1968. Cage took his title from a comment by Jasper Johns, who said he did not want ...Read More
In 1969, the noted composer John Cage created a series of eight "plexigrams" to commemorate his close friend Marcel Duchamp, who died in 1968. Cage took his title from a comment by Jasper Johns, who said he did not want to say anything in regards to Duchamp's death, as many artists had done at the time. Each of Cage's eight plexigrams were silkscreened with images and text that he chose based on the unpredictable outcomes from the oracular statements of the Chinese I Ching system, in a subtle commentary on the randomness of death and expression.
About the Artist
About John Cage
While he is best known for his radical contributions to music, Cage was also heavily involved in the visual and performing arts: he created numerous works in collaboration with the choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham, with whom he had a decades-long romantic and artistic partnership. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he spent summers teaching at Black Mountain College, where he met visionary architect and designer Buckminster Fuller, as well as the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, both of whom also became significant collaborators.
Cage's work was also a notable influence on artists affiliated with Fluxus and Happenings, who were similarly interested in chance and the everyday; among the students in Cage's "Experimental Composition" class at the New School for Social Research in the 1950s were artists such as Allan Kaprow, George Brecht, and Dick Higgins. Cage's own visual work often drew upon the chance processes that guided his music, as well as the unconventional, everyday materials that he employed in his performances. His first mature visual work, the series Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel (1969), refers to Marcel Duchamp, whose redefinition of the category of art itself paved the way for Cage.
DescriptionSet of 8 panels of Plexiglas each in a walnut base that measures 14.5" x 24" x 14.5". Two panels in each set are bronze tinted; six are clear. The images were silkscreened. The walnut base is hand-signed and numbered by Cage and his collaborator Calvin Sumsion. The work is accompanied by a text by John Cage describing the method of composing his first graphic work by chance operations. I—IV, Edition of 125 V—VIII, Edition of 18
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