The Anarchy of Silence – John Cage

The Anarchy of Silence – John Cage

Henie Onstad Kunstsenter

John Cage, composing Sonatas and Interludes 1947
Courtesy of John Cage Trust

March 19, 2010

The Anarchy of Silence – John Cage
25 February – 30 May 2010

1311 Høvikodden

John Cage (1912-1992) defined a radical practice of “experimental” composition that not only changed the course of modern music and dance but defined a new conceptual horizon for artistic practice in the late-20th century. Illuminating the relevance of Cage’s contribution to contemporary art, Henie Onstad Art Centre presents the most extensive exhibition to be devoted to the artist since his death, and the first to focus on the historicization of the composer’s oeuvre and its impact.

The Anarchy of Silence – John Cage tracks systematically the critical developments in Cage’s career: from his work with percussion (1930s), to the prepared piano (1940s), to chance and indeterminacy (1950s), to new media (1960s onward), through to the political focus that ever more explicitly informed the work in the last decades of his life. Cage ushered in formal, structural, temporal, and media innovations that now form cornerstones of contemporary consciousness. In this exhibition, his changing approaches materialize as the powerful series of conceptual catalysts through which the composer altered the terms of creative practice at large. Sound recordings, films, scores, and documentary materials provide an insight into the extraordinary scope of Cage’s project.

Because of its special position of exploring the work of a composer from the perspective of a museum of contemporary art, the exhibition considers Cage’s encounters with artists as a key part of his practice. As artists were rejecting expression Cage developed indeterminate composition, and his scores became a crucial model for mediating the creative act. The show thus features 200 works by the composer and other artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, Henry Flynt and Nam June Paik.

John Cage visited Høvikodden in 1983 and held several concerts here, so a number of Norwegian artists and musicians were in close contact with him. The Henie Onstad Art Centre’s exhibition pays tribute to this by presenting four days of music devoted to John Cage, when Cage compositions will be performed, along with concerts by musicians and sound artists who were inspired by Cage. In addition, as many as three newly commissioned works will be performed.

The exhibition is curated by Julia Robinson and is the result of a collaboration between MACBA, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona and The Henie Onstad Art Centre. The exhibition opened at MACBA, is now on display at Henie Onstad Art Centre, and will then travel to SCHUNCK in the Netherlands.

Catalogue: The exhibition is accompanied by a significant publication of new scholarship on Cage. Authors: Yve-Alain Bois, Branden Joseph, Liz Kotz, James Pritchett, Julia Robinson; with an extensive chronology by Rebecca Y. Kim.

Cage on CD: A comprehensive CD and book entitled John Cage in Norway, documents Cage’s visit to Norway in 1983, when he spent a week at The Henie Onstad Art Centre and a group of Norwegian musicians including Christian Eggen, Magne Hegdal, Kjell Samkopf and Rob Waring performed his works. John Cage in Norway comprises a 64-page booklet of new articles about Cage, a transcription of a conversation that Cage held at the State Academy of Art, a newly written article written by musicians who worked with him here in Norway and a number of hitherto unpublished pictures.

28. February:

Jim O’Rourke: “Aunt Esther” commissioned tape work
Else Olsen S: Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48)
Håvard Volden and Toshimaru Nakamura: Sculptures Musicales (1989)
Kjell Samkopf: Child of Tree (1975)
In collaboration with Ny Musikk
21. March:
Robin Fox (commissioned work)
Low Frequency in Stereo
11. April:
Cage for Kids!

Workshop and concert in collaboration with The Norwegian Academy of Music
25. April:
Lemur and Tom Løberg: Four6
Deathprod: performance in the Studio (commissioned work)
Andrea Neumann: Water Walk and extracts from Song Books
In collaboration with Ny Musikk

Opening hours:
Tue – fri: 11 – 19
Sat – Sun: 11 – 17

Henie Onstad Art Centre

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Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
March 19, 2010

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