Published by Walker Art Center. Edited with text by Fionn Meade, Joan Rothfuss. Foreword by Olga Viso. Text by Carlos Basualdo, Juliet Bellow, Philip Bither, Roger Copeland, Mary L. Coyne, Douglas Crimp, Hiroko Ikegami, Kelly Kivland, Claudia La Rocco, Benjamin Piekut, David Vaughan. Interviews by Victoria Brooks, Danielle Goldman, Aram Moshayedi.
How Cunningham transformed postwar culture through collaboration
Renowned as both choreographer and dancer, Merce Cunningham (1919–2009) also revolutionized dance through his partnerships with the many artists who created costumes, lighting, films and videos, and décor and sound for his choreographic works. Cunningham, together with partner John Cage, invited those artists to help him rethink what dance could mean, both on the stage and in site-responsive contexts. His notion that movement, sound and visual art could share a “common time” remains one of the most radical aesthetic models of the 20th century and yielded extraordinary works by dozens of artists and composers, including Charles Atlas, John Cage, Morris Graves, Jasper Johns, Rei Kawakubo, Robert Morris, Gordon Mumma, Bruce Nauman, Ernesto Neto, Pauline Oliveros, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, David Tudor, Stan VanDerBeek, Andy Warhol and La Monte Young, among many others. These collaborations bring to the fore Cunningham’s direct impact upon postwar artistic practice. This 456-page volume, published in conjunction with the Walker Art Center and MCA Chicago’s exhibition, reconsiders the choreographer and his collaborators as an extraordinarily generative interdisciplinary network that preceded and predicted dramatic shifts in performance, including the development of site-specific dance, the use of technology as a choreographic tool and the radical separation of sound and movement in dance. It features ten new essays by curators and historians, as well as interviews with contemporary choreographers—Beth Gill, Maria Hassabi, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener—who address Cunningham’s continued influence. These are supplemented by rarely published archival photographs, reprints of texts by Cunningham, Cage and other key dancers, artists and scholars, several appendices and an extensive illustrated chronology placing Cunningham’s activities and those of his collaborators in the context of the 20th century, particularly the expanded arts scene of the 1960s and 1970s. This book is an essential volume for anyone interested in contemporary art, music and dance.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Edited with text by Leah Dickerman, Achim Borchardt-Hume. Text by Yve-Alain Bois, Andrianna Campbell, Hal Foster, Mark Godfrey, Hiroko Ikegami, Branden Joseph, Ed Krcma, Michelle Kuo, Pamela Lee, Emily Liebert, Richard Meyer, Helen Molesworth, Kate Nesin, Sarah Roberts, Catherine Wood.
"Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in the gap between the two.)" —Robert Rauschenberg
Published by JRP|Ringier. Edited by Raphael Gygax, Heike Munder. Text by Torsten Blume, Eva Díaz, Raphael Gygax, Juliet Koss, Tobias Peper.
In his lifetime, "Xanti" (Alexander) Schawinsky (1904-79) was best known for his work in the theater department at the Bauhaus. Fleeing Germany before the beginning of the Second World War, he landed at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where in the 1930s he developed his theory of the "Spectodrama." Involving multimedia productions examining elementary phenomena such as space, motion, light, sound or color from scientific, technical and performance-based perspectives, the Spectodrama represents an early form of the "happening." Beyond the avant-garde utopias of the Bauhaus and his proto-happening art, Schawinsky also worked as a painter and graphic designer. Protracted legal disputes over the artist's estate meant that Schawinsky's work was until recently almost inaccessible; Xanti Schawinsky is the first survey of Schawinsky's extraordinarily prolific output over the course of five decades, and a long-overdue resource on the work of this key figure.
How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Published by Siglio. Edited by Richard Kraft, Joe Biel.
Composed over the course of 16 years, John Cage's Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) is one of his most prescient and personal works. A repository of observations, anecdotes, obsessions, jokes and koan like stories, the diary registers Cage's assessment of the times in which he lived as well as his often uncanny predictions about the world we live in now. With a great sense of play as well as purpose, Cage traverses vast territory, from postwar music to Watergate, from domestic minutiae to ideas on how to feed the world. Typing on an IBM Selectric, Cage used chance operations to determine not only the word count and the application of various typefaces but also the number of letters per line, the patterns of indentation and--in the case of Part Three (published as a Great Bear pamphlet by Something Else Press)--color. The beautiful and unusual visual variances become almost musical as the physicality of the language on the page suggests the sonic. This first complete hardcover edition collects all eight parts Cage originally published in A Year from Monday, M and X. Coeditors Kraft and Biel have consulted these publications along with Cage's original manuscripts, and--with the Great Bear pamphlet as a guide--they have used chance operations to render the entire text in various combinations of red and blue as well as apply a set of 18 typefaces to the entire work. Composer, philosopher, writer and artist, John Cage (1912-92) is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. A pioneer in extending the boundaries of music, often composing works through chance operations, Cage also had an extraordinary impact on dance, poetry, performance and visual art.
Published by Siglio. Edited by Elizabeth Zuba. Text by Kevin Killian.
Ray Johnson (1927–1995) blurred the boundaries of life and art, of authorship and intimacy. Correspondence is the defining character of all of Johnson’s work, particularly his mail art. Intended to be read, to be received, to be corresponded with, his letters (usually both image and textual in character) were folded and delivered to an individual reader, to be opened and read, again and again. Johnson's correspondence includes letter to friends William S. Wilson, Dick Higgins, Richard Lippold, Toby Spiselman, Joseph Cornell, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Robert Motherwell, Eleanor Antin, Germaine Green, Lynda Benglis, Arakawa and Madeline Gins, Christo, Billy Name, Jim Rosenquist and Albert M. Fine, among many others. The subjects of his correspondence ranged from the New York avant-garde (Cage, Johns, de Kooning, Duchamp) to filmmakers such as John Waters, philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and writers such as Gertrude Stein and Marianne Moore. This collection of more than 200 selected letters and writings--most of which are previously unpublished--opens a new view into the sprawling, multiplicitous nature of Johnson’s art, revealing not only how he created relationships, glyphs and puzzles in connecting words, phrases, people and ideas, but also something about the elusive Johnson himself. In a 1995 article in The New York Times, Roberta Smith wrote: "Make room for Ray Johnson, whose place in history has been only vaguely defined. Johnson’s beguiling, challenging art has an exquisite clarity and emotional intensity that makes it much more than simply a remarkable mirror of its time, although it is that, too."
Long out of print and unavailable to wider audiences, The Paper Snake is an essential work in Ray Johnson’s oeuvre and the second title published by Dick Higgins’ Something Else Press, in 1965. Johnson describes the book as "all my writings, rubbings, plays, things that I had mailed to [Higgins] or brought to him in cardboard boxes or shoved under his door, or left in his sink, or whatever, over a period of years." A vertiginous, mind-bending artist’s book, The Paper Snake was far ahead of its time. In his essay "The Hatching of the Paper Snake," Higgins says: "I was fascinated by the way that the small works which Ray Johnson used to send through the mail seemed so rooted in their moment and their context and yet somehow they seemed to acquire new and larger meaning as time went along ... Since a book is a more permanent body than a mailing piece or even than our own physical ones, I could not help wondering what it would be like to make a new body for Johnson’s ideas as a sort of love letter or time capsule for the future." A collection of letters, little plays, tid-bits, collages and drawings, The Paper Snake connects disparate elements to unbed fixed relationships and forge new systems of meaning by means of scissors, paste and the American postal system.
Published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers. Edited by Nicola Del Roscio. Text by Laszlo Glozer, Thierry Greub, Simon Schama, Kirk Varnedoe.
Recognized as one of the greatest and most idiosyncratic artists of the postwar era, Cy Twombly left behind an oeuvre of incredible versatility, sensitivity and originality upon his death in 2011 at age 83. Working in the immediate aftermath of abstract expressionism, Twombly developed an intensely personal scription consisting of scrawled letters and words, in an effusive, calligraphic mark-making that suggests a kind of painted poetry. Working across painting, drawing, sculpture and photography with a restless energy, Twombly incorporated the gods of Ancient Greece, the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé and the history, culture and mythology of the Occident into his art. The Essential Cy Twombly, edited by Twombly's longtime collaborator Nicola Del Roscio, is the ultimate overview of his work, presenting the most important paintings and cycles of paintings, drawings, sculptures and photographs from Twombly's diverse oeuvre. The most accessible survey of his work to date, this volume includes essays by Laszlo Glozer, Thierry Greub, Kirk Varnedoe and Simon Schama.
Edwin Parker (Cy) Twombly (1928–2011) was born in Lexington, Virginia. He lived and worked in New York in the early 1950s (where he met Robert Rauschenberg, with whom he was to have a long personal and artistic relationship) and studied at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina before traveling around North Africa, Spain and Italy and ultimately settling in Rome before the end of the decade, just as the art world was shifting its center of gravity to New York. Best known for his paintings and drawings, often executed on a massive scale across multiple canvases, Twombly also made sculptures and photographs.