2014 Student Research Conference:
27th Annual Student Research Conference

Drawing a New Media: John Cages Subversion of Media and the Origins of Performance Art in the 1960s
April N. Johnston
Dr. Julia DeLancey, Dr. Sara Orel, and Prof. Aaron Fine, Faculty Mentors

Through inspiring artists to maintain respect for drawing as a traditional medium while simultaneously pushing it into continually abstract and dematerialized territory, the composer John Cage can arguably be considered the impetus for the Performance Art movement of the late 1960s, and therefore, an essential figure to the study of American contemporary art. This thesis argues that Cages ideals for visual art are a by-product of his lifelong work as an experimental composer and practitioner of Zen Buddhism, and are deeply rooted in the concepts of silence and chance. This paper focuses on drawings made by John Cage in two forms: avant-garde musical notations and pencil and ink works created as Zen exercises, seeking to analyze the place of his drawings in the trajectory of the New York School movement, and the influence they had on subsequent generations of performance artists.

Keywords: Art History, Performance Art, Music, Composing, Buddhism, New York City

Topic(s):Art - Art History
American Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 212-2
Location: OP 2210
Time: 9:45

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