The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart is delighted to be able celebrate the 100th birthday of John Cage (5 September 1912 - 12 August 1992) with an exhibition of its wide-ranging holdings of the artist’s work. Spanning the years from 1969 to 1990, the exhibition will show sixteen prints, two drawings, one object (Plexigram) and four rarely seen books as well as a comprehensive selection of documentary material from the Sohm Archive.
The presentation is complemented by a selection of compositions by the artist which can be enjoyed at an audio station in the exhibition and in a series of concerts that form part of an extensive events programme accompanying the exhibition.
The exhibition provides a unique insight into John Cage’s multifaceted visual oeuvre. Together with the events programme it highlights different aspects of the work of one of the most charismatic artists of the twentieth century: composer, visual artist, poet and passionate mushroom hunter.
The American artist John Cage is best known as a composer. Early on in his career he began to incorporate radio and recorded sound into his compositions, to write music for non-standard instruments and everyday objects and to allow chance to play a key role in his works. By the late 1960s, the composer began to make a name for himself as a visual artist as well. He experimented with different printing techniques and explored ways of translating his chance-controlled compositional principles into the new visual medium. John Cage’s multidisciplinary creative practice inspired Fluxus and Pop Art.
In the collection of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, John Cage is represented by drawings, prints and a three-dimensional work, the Plexigram No. 3 Not Wanting to say anything about Marcel. The Department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs has been acquiring works by the artist since 1981, many of them through the Konrad Kohlhammer-Stiftung to the Friends of the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. The latest acquisition to date, an etching, entered the collection in 2003 thanks to the Vermächtnis Günther und Renate Hauff. Other works on paper from the two generous bequests are currently on show in the exhibition To the Museum of Modern Dreams | Artistic Concepts of the 1960s to the 1980s (until 30 September 2012). Further works by and about John Cage – primarily books and archival material – entered the collection in 1981 through the acquisition of the Sohm Archive, one of the world’s leading collections of archival material documenting avant-garde art movements such as Fluxus.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue documenting the Staatsgalerie’s rich holdings of work by John Cage.