Contemporary art movements such as conceptual art, performance art, and minimalism emphasized ideas, experience, and process over the tangible artwork; thus, related printed documents often provided the only evidence of a work’s existence. From the Library’s vertical files, this selection of documents accompanied such ephemeral works and, among other functions, accessorized a performance piece, such as John Cage’s Variations IV; invited participation in the art-making process itself, such as Alan Kaprow’s happenings posters; and provided schema for the execution of a work, such as Dan Graham’s Performance.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists is a “heroic” biography of John Cage and his “awakening through Zen Buddhism”—“a kind of love story” about a brilliant American pioneer of the creative arts who transformed himself and his culture (The New York Times)
Composer John Cage sought the silence of a mind at peace with itself—and found it in Zen Buddhism, a spiritual path that changed both his music and his view of the universe. “Remarkably researched, exquisitely written,” Where the Heart Beats weaves together “a great many threads of cultural history” (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings) to illuminate Cage’s struggle to accept himself and his relationship with choreographer Merce Cunningham. Freed to be his own man, Cage originated exciting experiments that set him at the epicenter of a new avant-garde forming in the 1950s. Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Allan Kaprow, Morton Feldman, and Leo Castelli were among those influenced by his ‘teaching’ and ‘preaching.’ Where the Heart Beats shows the blossoming of Zen in the very heart of American culture.