Morton Feldman and John Cage
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Cage and Feldman – and more – at Hauser and Wirth.

Exploring links between the visual arts and music is always a fascinating venture, and that’s certainly the case when examining the rich connections that brought together artists of myriad disciplines and persuasions in New York during the 1950s and the years immediately surrounding that decade. This week, a new exhibition mining that fertile territory will open at the Hauser & Wirth gallery location on the Upper East Side. Titled “Nothing and Everything: Seven Artists, 1947 – 1962,” the show combines works by visual artists Louise Bourgeois, Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, and David Smith with recorded talks and compositions featuring John Cage and Morton Feldman.

According to the gallery’s website:

‘Nothing and Everything’ examines a particularly fertile period in the history of American art through the work of seven artists who, magnetized by a shared ethos and the spirit of their times, socialized together, exhibited collaboratively, and supported one another’s ideas. The cultural context and synesthetic affinities that linked these seven individuals is the exhibition’s central premise.

Visitors will be greeted on entry with a recording of Cage performing his Lecture on Nothing, and the exhibition also includes excerpts from Cage and Feldman’s Radio Happening I, one of five such conversations the composers recorded between July 1966 and January 1967. (You can stream Radio Happening I below, courtesy of Archive.org, or you might opt for the gorgeous hardcover book edition of all five events in remastered sound on audio-DVD, with complete print transcripts, a new introduction by Christian Wolff, and more, released by Mode Records last July.)

Connections between Cage and Feldman, and between Feldman and Guston, are well known and widely documented. But mulling links drawn to Kline and Mitchell, like Feldman habitués of Greenwich Village’s legendary Cedar Tavern, and to Bourgeois and Smith, perhaps more through an observed aesthetic affinity, promises to be just as engaging. And an onsite listening room provides an opportunity to spend quality time with further works by Cage and Feldman, never a bad thing.

“Nothing and Everything” opens this Thursday, February 2, with a reception from 6 to 8pm. Thereafter, gallery hours run Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, through April 1. Hauser & Wirth’s uptown gallery is located at 32 E. 69th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues. – Steve Smith

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