PRINT May 1991



SINCE THE BEGINNING of our century, music and its reproductive medium, the record, have constantly challenged artists to create new forms. László Moholy-Nagy saw the potential of scratching the wax plate to produce new sounds and sound relationships,1 and Piet Mondrian called for the creation of a new system of “tones and anti-tones” in order to achieve a “universal form.”2 When, in 1913, the Futurist Luigi Russolo issued his manifesto L’arte dei rumori (The art of noises), he set up one of the most crucial guideposts for avant-garde music.3 The inclusion of real noises—“the voices of animals and men,” “the coming and going of pistons,” “the crashing down of metal shop blinds,” etc.4—advocated by Russolo, became intrinsic to the work of composers like Edgard Varèse, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, and George Antheil. However, it was John Cage who in the early ’50s first linked this innovative

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.