Wednesday, August 29, 2012

John Cage: Rocks, Paper, Fire

Where: National Gallery of Art, East Building, Concourse Level

When: through September 16, 2012

It took me a while to find this - it's in the East Building, down a few steps from the small shop on the Concourse Level.  When I looked at this display (only six pieces in one display case), I realized that it had been a while since I'd seen something that made me roll my eyes and think "a fool and his money are soon parted."  On my, really?  You call this art?  I call it scribbles and coffee cup stains on paper.  This is the sort of thing I associate with the Tower, but I suppose it was too small for that space.

Cage used the I Ching (an ancient Chinese book of divination) to dictate his artistic endeavors.  I'm not entirely certain how that worked, but I suppose it's easier than having to come up with your own ideas!  Apparently, he did this so as to remove any personal taste or intention from his work.  It seems to me that's the point of being an artist - to express your personal tastes and intentions.  Cage also used fire in his work, which I've seen before from other artists.  Somehow, their stuff was a bit more involved than this, which is basically a piece of paper with a hole burned in the middle.  Perhaps the other artists were expressing their personal tastes and intentions?

Verdict:  Feel free to give this a miss.  The few minutes I spent looking at this display are moments I'll never get back.  Color me scornful.

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