9 Stones 2 and more art by John Cage

9 Stones 2, 1989
58 x 46 cm (h x w)
color spit bite and sugar lift aquatints on smoked paper
not for sale
[Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of the Des Moines Art Center Print Club, 2006.11]

(Gift Print, 2006)

Avant-garde composer, artist, and philosopher John Cage was interested in the role chance plays in artistic creation. Working with Kathan Brown and her San Francisco Bay-area publisher, Crown Point Press, Cage made prints in which he combined traditional etching with accidental and random effects. For 9 Stones 2, he used sugar lift aquatint etching plus fire.

After the etching plate was prepared and inked, Cage set newspaper on fire and placed it on the press bed while the printer laid the down damp paper for the impression. As this “sandwich” rolled through the press, the damp paper extinguished the flames, and the impression was simultaneously imprinted with the color aquatint, burnt, and smoked.

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