Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every Day is A Good Day! Says John Cage

Every day in London is a good day, rain or shine. Went straight to the Southbank Center on Tuesday September 13th from Heathrow for the afternoon/early evening before heading back to catch my flight to Istanbul. This is my second time in the last year that I have devoted a full day flying through London to go to the Hayward Gallery. Last year it was Ernesto Neto's Edges of the World (my kind of world, of the senses). This year, John Cage. With Ralph Rugoff's return to London from the Bay Area a few years ago, as Director, they are doing really great programming there. Kind of reminds me of the Berkeley Art Museum, cement, brutalist architecture, both built in the exact same year, 1968. Last year Neto placed a large rubber swimming pool on the balcony of the upstairs gallery. And, this year,  a bountiful roof top garden above Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of The Hayward's Festival of Britain, The Lands summer program. Felt just like being in Berkeley looking at vegetable gardens and native plants with a pop up cafe. There was also an "Urban Fox" made of straw bale, sitting above the entrance to The Hayward.

Inside the John Cage exhibition, Every Day is a Good Day, were approximately 40 randomly selected prints created in the last 15 years of the artists' life, between 1977-1992. He was born in 1912 and died in 1992, so next year he would have been 100 years old! I was curious who curated the show, thinking it was Ralph with his previous access to Crownpoint while at the Wattis. However, it was proposed by a British artist, Jeremy Millar, for The Hayward's traveling exhibition program. And, because the work was developed under the tenants of "Chance Operation" by Cage, the selected works at each venue were randomly decided by using an online random number service called So, not only did the artist not see himself as the full creator of his own work, the "curator" did not even select the works in the show! My favorite work included was "Score Without Parts" with drawing fragments taken from the Journal of Henry David Thoreau.

Artist : John Cage Title : Score Without Parts (40 Drawings by Thoreau) Date(s) : 1978 Website : Credit : © The John Cage Trust

Cage was at Black Mountain College in the late 1940's where he hung out with Buckminster Fuller. He was also a big fan of Marshal McLuhan (who would have been 100 years old this year). Both Fuller and McLuhan offered Cage much influence on his social philosophy. Everyday is a Good Day, a popular Japanese Budhist saying or "Nichi nichi kore koniche,"was his favorite.

Millar gave a talk at Queen Elizabeth Hall at 6:45pm before a musical performance ensued, which I had to forgo to get back to Heathrow. If only there were more time and money to just hang out at The Hayward indefinitely.

No comments:

Post a Comment