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“Rolywholover, A Circus”

The Menil Collection

When he died two years ago, John Cage was heavily engaged in working out “Rolywholyover, A Circus” in conjunction with Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporay Art curator Julie Lazar. It would be easy to look on it as his final legacy, or final broad gesture anyway. Cage’s revolutionary spirit is reflected in the show’s main title, taken from Finnegans Wake, with its implication of a revaluation of all values; the subtitle “A Circus” holds out the promise of high jinks in a usually solemn place.

This traveling exhibition, opening at the Guggenheim in New York this month, is divided into three areas. In the first, smallest, most site-specific, and least interesting“Museumcircle”—the works are from local museums, chosen at random from lists compiled by the participating institutions themselves. The second part of the show consists of various works by Cage, from watercolors to musical scores.

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