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October 2011

Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC, Features Works by John Cage

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in Asheville, NC, is presenting the exhibit, John Cage: A Circle of Influences, focusing on the amazing life and work of this artist, musician, composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist and amateur mycologist, on view through Jan. 14, 2012. A reception will be held on Oct. 7, from 6-8pm. The event is free for BMCM+AC members + students w/ID, $3 for non-members.

The exhibition and reception are being held in conjunction with ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3, a weekend gathering of scholars, performers and artists coming to Asheville to present ideas and perform works related to John Cage, undoubtedly one of the most famous and influential figures associated with Black Mountain College. Cage taught at BMC in the summers of 1948 and 1952 and was in residence the summer of 1953.

This exhibition explores multiple aspects of Cage’s work from his important time at Black Mountain College to his later collaborative projects including the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia and Crown Point Press and includes some of the unusual materials he used in his work like stones, feathers and a very large custom-made brush along with the oversized trough that held paint.

John Cage (1912-1992) was a man of many interests: music, mushrooms, Zen Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy, visual art and dance. He pioneered the practice of “preparing” the piano by inserting objects into the strings, thereby altering the sound of the instrument in radical ways. He worked collaboratively for many years with choreographer/dancer Merce Cunningham and with fellow musician David Tudor (both of whom were also at Black Mountain College). Cage’s most famous (and infamous) composition is 4’33”, first performed by David Tudor in August of 1952. The piece lasts for precisely 4 minutes and 33 seconds during which time the pianist sits at the piano, consults a stopwatch and turns the pages of a score, but never strikes a note on the piano. This courageously conceptual work confused and outraged audiences and established Cage as an iconoclast and radical thinker. While at Black Mountain College in 1952, he staged the first “Happening” in the United States, a multi-layered performative event that changed modern theater completely.

Cage’s influence in multiple fields is a reason for his enduring legacy and contemporary relevance. As a musician, composer, philosopher and visual artist Cage’s work continues to inspire others.

ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3 will celebrate this enormously far-reaching influence through a mix of performances and presentations that address the many aspects of this visionary artist and thinker.

The keynote address will be given on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011, from 5-6pm by Laura Kuhn, the Executive Director of the John Cage Trust. ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3 takes place primarily at UNC Asheville with additional locations around town. It is co-sponsored by UNC Asheville and the John Cage Trust.

Kuhn worked directly with John Cage from 1986-1992 on a variety of large-scale projects, including his Europeras 1 & 2 for the Frankfurt Opera. Projects under her direction include a CD-ROM of sampled piano preparations from Cage’s Sonatas & Interludes (1946–48) and The John Cage Book of Days, a yearly pocket calendar filled with historically important dates, pithy quotations, and unique images drawn from the archives of the John Cage Trust. She created and directed James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet, a theatrical realization of Cage’s radio play (2001). Kuhn is the John Cage Professor of Performance Arts at Bard College, where the John Cage Trust is headquartered.

For further info about other related programming being offered during 1011eashevill, visit (

The Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center preserves and continues the unique legacy of educational and artistic innovation of Black Mountain College for public study and enjoyment. We achieve our mission through collection, conservation, and educational activities including exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 828/350-8484 or visit (


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