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John Cage

John Cage

*  1912 Los Angeles
† 1992 Los Angeles

The composer and visual artist John Cage counts among the protagonists of a wider concept of art and was one of the most influential heads of Fluxus and Happening Art.
John Cage was born in Los Angeles in 1912. In 1930 he took music lessons in France and studied architecture, before he began to study composing in 1931. In 1937 John Cage completed his education as composer, attending various universities, such as the New York New School of Social Research and the University of California in Los Angeles. Additionally, John Cage was interested in East Asian philosophies.
In 1938 John Cage was called to teach at Mills College in San Francisco. He met the famous Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy. In 1941 John Cage taught experimental music at the Institute of Design in Chicago.
In 1942 John Cage relocated to New York, where he met luminaries of avant-garde art, such as Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp and André Breton. In 1946 John Cage become musical director of the "Merce Cunningham Dance Company".
As of the 1950s John Cage became increasingly occupied with experimental compositions in which coincidence played an important role. Additionally, he included the audience and their reactions to the music into his works. This way John Cage's experiments in music inspired the art of the Happenings. Together with Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham, John Cage was a founding father of Action Art. His work "4'33''" from 1952 is especially famous: For the entire period of 4 minutes and 33 seconds, a piano player sits completely inactive at his piano, the audience's reaction is remarkable.
As of the late 1960s John Cage became also active as visual artist. His "Ryoanji-Drawings" are especially famous. With these drawings, that John Cage made as of 1983, he expressed his liking for Buddhism. The sheets directly reference Buddhist stone gardens in an East Asian monastery (Ryoanji in Kyoto). On occasion of his 100th birthday the Munich Pinakothek der Moderne showed these sheets in 2012/13.
John Cage died in his hometown Los Angeles in1992.