san-francisco

John Cage

California Palace of the Legion of Honor / Crown Point Press

DURING THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS OF HIS LIFE, avant-garde composer John Cage produced a substantial body of visual art, mainly in the form of prints. Beginning in 1978, he visited Crown Point Press for a week or two almost every year. There, working closely with the press's master printers, he made art using methods borrowed from his approach to musical composition. He allowed every aspect of a print to be determined by what he described as “chance operations” (reading from the I Ching, throwing dice, and so on). The complex notations that serve as a record of these operations, referred to by Cage as scores or maps, dictated the actions he and the printers were to take—from the color of ink to the length and number of marks and the positioning of elements in the image.

As the works in both the Crown Point show and the slightly larger exhibition at the Legion of Honor revealed, Cage combined

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