John Cage: The Sight of Silence

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Friday, February 15, 2013 - Saturday, May 18, 2013

As part of a national 2012 celebration of John Cage's centennial year, the Taubman presents John Cage: The Sight of Silence, featuring over 60 watercolors and works on paper created at the Mountain Lake Workshop in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Best known as a groundbreaking composer, musician, and avant-garde thinker, Cage (1912-1992) was also a prolific visual artist who wove Eastern philosophy with elements of chance as a way to free up the creative process.  With additional handwritten musical scores, illustrated notations, and videos of performances also on view, the exhibition provides insight into one of the twentieth century's most unconventional and influential artists.

Additionally, in the spirit of Cage, the exhibition was installed using Cage's "chance operations" approach, allowing the throw of the dice determine where works were to be hung on the walls.  

This exhibition is co-curated by Ray Kass, Taubman Adjunct Curator of Southeastern Art, and Marshall N. Price, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Academy Museum and School, New York, NY.  A hardbound publication by Kass - The Sight of Silence: John Cage's Complete Watercolors - accompanies the show, with essays and recollections that explore Cage's method of "chance operations" as well as his writing, music, and theater.

Image: John Cage, New River Watercolor, Series I (#3), 1988, watercolor on parchment paper, 18 x 36 inches, courtesy the John Cage Trust at Bard College, NY.  

John Cage: The Sight of Silence is sponsored in part by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, Roanoke Arts Commission and the City of Roanoke.