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Medicine Drawing #8 and more art by John Cage

Medicine Drawing #8, 1991
27.9 x 35.6 cm (h x w)
Medicinal herbs in handmade paper

John Cage was an American artist best known for his Minimalist musical compositions. Often characterized by an unorthodox use of chance and mathematical formulas, the artist’s works also incorporated non-musical objects and periods of silence. In Cage’s composition 4’33” (1952), the performer is instructed to not play their instrument for the entirety of the piece—four minutes and 33 seconds. “There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time,” he once mused. “There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.” Born on September 5, 1912 in Los Angeles, CA, he attended Pomona College as a theology major before leaving school in 1930. While travelling through Europe over the following year, he familiarized himself with the music of Igor Stravinsky, Erik Satie, and Johann Sebastian Bach. Returning to California, he studied first under the pianist Richard Buhlig and later Arnold Schoenberg at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the late 1930s, Cage began producing musical accompaniments for dance, meeting the choreographer Merce Cunningham, who became his lifelong friend and collaborator. During his life, he was associated with a wide variety of artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, Jackson Pollock, Buckminster Fuller, and Marcel Duchamp. Beginning in 1969, Cage turned to other media, such as painting, etching, printmaking, and photography, as well as writing multiple books. The artist died on August 12, 1992 in New York, NY. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, among others. (Text by artnet)



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other works by John Cage

9 Stones 2, 1989
58 x 46 cm (h x w)
color spit bite and sugar lift aquatints on smoked paper

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