Intimate portraits and remembrances of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century
It is difficult to imagine a world without John Cage. His playful, challenging spirit remains pervasive—a formative force in the lives of those in the forefront of today's arts. This special book combines iconic photographs of Cage by James Klosty with eclectic testimony the author commissioned from people the world over, each asked to contribute their thoughts on Cage's influence on their lives and work with one-hundred-word statements. These remembrances range from humorous to reverent, and are from artists including Laurie Anderson, John Ashbery, Gavin Bryars, Jasper Johns, Harry Mathews, Meredith Monk, Mark Morris, Ron Padgett, Yoko Ono, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Reich, Peter Sellars, Stephen Sondheim, Twyla Tharp, Michael Tilson Thomas, Anne Waldman, Robert Wilson, and many more.
The evocative duotone photographs show John Cage alone and in association with Merce Cunningham, Marcel Duchamp, Octavio Paz, Aaron Copland, and many others. The book provides public and private glimpses into the man who transformed chance from an inescapable inevitability of life into disciplined creativity through music, writing, philosophy, printmaking, and, on the largest scale of all, living. John Cage Was gives us a privileged view of an irreplaceable man who had few enemies and innumerable disciples.
Contributors of 100 Word Statements:
John Luther Adams
Alexina "Teeny" Duchamp
Joan La Barbara
Jack Lenor Larsen
R. Murray Schafer
Michael Tilson Thomas
JAMES KLOSTY is a photographer, actor, and devoted organic gardener. He is the photographer/author of Merce Cunningham, and his work has been shown at the Leo Castelli Gallery and the ICP/International Center of Photography. Klosty lives in Millbrook, New York.
"With enviable intimacy this book captures the wit, the wicked genius, and infectious curiosity of the great John Cage. It is a testament to his power as an artist, and to his lasting legacy as inspiration to anyone with a few 'crazy' ideas."~Mikhail Baryshnikov
""Of course Cage was photographed all his life and was a wonderful subject, but Klosty seems to have had a special rapport with him. This might be because he seems, like Cage, to be a man with boundless enthusiasm and zest for life His joy, humor, and love almost burst forth from his short introduction.""~American Record Guide
""James Klosty's new book about the celebrated mischief-maker of avant-garde American music, dance, and theater, John Cage Was includes many previously unpublished photographs and some 62 comments by Cage's associates. As Klosty's photographs show, Cage's process was an active, almost athletic activity. But it had a spiritual dimension too.""~Marcia B. Siegel, The Hudson Review
""Klosty's presentation of these images and memories offers an immediacy and closeness to Cage that stands out from the immense volume of written work on him.""~Liam Smith, The Huffington Post
""The countless musicians, artists, and others whose minds and ears Cage cracked open in the course of his long, creative life, as well as those who are intrigued by his artifacts, will relish this collection of photographs of the iconoclastic, groundbreaking composer and his milieu from 1967-1972.""~Publishers Weekly
""With enviable intimacy this book captures the wit, the wicked genius, and infectious curiosity of the great John Cage. It is a testament to his power as an artist, and to his lasting legacy as inspiration to anyone with a few 'crazy' ideas.""~Mikhail Baryshnikov
""Klosty, best known as a photographer, delivers a collection of previously unseen images and 100-word observations about Cage. These anecdotes came from the many artists, poets, dancers and musicians who knew the artist and acknowledge the influence of his work. The assembled witnesses include contemporary artists such as Yoko Ono, Twyla Tharp, John Ashbery, Jasper Johns, Laurie Anderson and many more. Many of the contributors use Cage's writing style in their very short essays, anecdotes, and poems. (Indeterminacy abounds. Aleatory methods converge.) For Cage aficionados, part of the fun of this book comes from seeing how his peers use forms he created. But the photographs offer the greatest reward. Between 1967 and 1972, Klosty trained his camera lens on the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He photographed Cunningham, the director, plus John Cage, the in-house composer, and also members of the company. The troupe prepared iconoclastic new works and presented them on stages around the world.""~Bill Taft, Paste Magazine