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Hayward Gallery Opens John Cage Every Day is a Good Day

Hayward Gallery presents John Cage Every Day is a Good Day. A Hayward Touring Exhibition from Southbank Centre, on view 12 August–18 September 2011.

John Cage, “River Rocks and Smoke: 4-11-90 #1,” 1990.(c) The John Cage Trust at Bard.

This Hayward Touring exhibition is a celebration of the visual art of the American composer, writer and artist John Cage (1912–1992). Following an acclaimed tour around the country, the Hayward Project Space will present an abridged version of the exhibition featuring forty to fifty of Cage’s works on paper. The exhibition was conceived by artist Jeremy Millar, and organised by Hayward Touring in collaboration with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the John Cage Trust.

To coincide with the exhibition the pioneering ensemble Apartment House celebrates the work of the groundbreaking composer with John Cage Night (13 September, Queen Elizabeth Hall). The programme includes a performance Cage’s iconic silent work of 1952, 4’33”. This event open’s Southbank Centre’s International Chamber Music Season 2011/12.

John Cage was one of the leading avant-garde composers of the twentieth century and closely connected with art and artists throughout his long career. He collaborated frequently with Robert Rauschenberg and the dance choreographer Merce Cunningham, was a friend of Jasper Johns and Marcel Duchamp, and was a major influence on the Fluxus artists of the 1960s and ’70s. It was not until he was in his mid-sixties that he began to practise seriously as a visual artist himself, producing over 600 prints with the Crown Point Press in San Francisco, as well as 260 drawings and watercolours. In these works he applied the same chance-determined procedures that he used in his musical compositions.

This display presents works on paper spanning his whole visual art career, including his extraordinary Ryoanji series, described by the art critic David Sylvester as ‘among the most beautiful prints and drawings made anywhere in the 1980s’. In these works he drew around the outlines of stones scattered (according to chance) across the paper or printing plate, in one case drawing around 3,375 individually placed stones. He also experimented with burning or soaking the paper, and applied complex, painstaking procedures at each stage of the printmaking process.

Inspired by John Cage’s own practice, the exhibition differs markedly from a conventional show. The work will be selected and hung according to chance operations, using a computer-generated random number programme similar to the Chinese oracle, the ‘I Ching’, which is essentially a random number programme. This will result in works being hung at different heights and in arrangements and groupings that no curator would ordinarily choose. Cage himself, who disliked linear displays, employed this method in several exhibitions, notably Rolywholyover, in Los Angeles in 1992, which he described a ‘composition for museum’.

The book accompanying the exhibition ‘Every Day is a Good Day: The Visual Art of John Cage’ is the first to cover all aspects of John Cage’s graphic art, with more than sixty plates and other illustrations. It includes interviews conducted by Jeremy Millar with people who knew Cage well and are authorities on his work; a ‘Cage Companion’ of quotations and commentaries on important aspects of his life and work; and a substantial extract from an interview with Cage by the American art critic Irving Sandler. ISBN 978-1-85332-283-9.

Opening Hours 10am–6pm every day.
Late nights opening Thursday and Friday until 8pm only when the main exhibition galleries are open for Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want until 29 August.

John Cage Night
Apartment House
13 September 2011, 7.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Pioneering ensemble Apartment House presents an evening of music by one of the true iconoclasts of 20th-century music, John Cage, coinciding with the Hayward Gallery’s touring Cage exhibition Every Day is a Good Day. Apartment House was formed in 1995 and is a regular visitor to Europe’s leading contemporary music festivals and specialises in developing composer-focused programmes. Programme includes:
4′ 33″
Radio music for 8 performers
Child of tree for solo percussion
Concert for piano & orchestra/Fontana mix
String Quartet in four parts
Music for nine
0′ 00″ (4′ 33″ No.2)

Prior to the concert at 6pm there will be a special preview of John Cage: Every Day is a Good Day, with an introductory talk on Cage’s visual art. Admission free to ticket holders.

Hayward Project Space
Hayward Gallery
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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