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 ...

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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. 

 

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About the Artist

About John Cage

Legendary composer, writer, theorist, and artist John Cage was one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century, and his profound influence continues ...Read More
Legendary composer, writer, theorist, and artist John Cage was one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century, and his profound influence continues to be felt across the arts today. A student of noted avant-garde composers Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg, Cage merged their teachings with his own investigations into chance and indeterminacy. Cage's early work involved experimenting with the instruments themselves, as in his noted works for "prepared piano," for which he placed various household objects on the piano's strings to alter its sound. Drawing inspiration from Eastern philosophy and religion, particularly Zen Buddhism, he often consulted the I-Ching to determine elements of his work.

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.
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Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Plexigram I—VIII, 1969

John Cage

Mixed Media
Size Price
24.00" x 14.50" x 14.50" $75,000
Edition of 125

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Offered in partnership with:

Carl Solway Gallery

Description

Set 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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John Cage
Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel, Plexi...

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