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Membra Disjecta for John Cage

MuseumsQuartier 21, Wien

Wanting to Say Something About John. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth and the 20th anniversary of his death. Participating artists include several of Cage's collaborators as well as younger artists who are inspired by his work. The show is an ambitious undertaking juxtaposing a variety of media, with paintings, drawings, prints, collages, musical scores, photographs, instructive pieces, sculptural objects, installations, videos and sound installations. Several additional events are planned.

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Curators: Jozef Cseres, Georg Weckwerth
Coordination: Elisabeth Hajek

"Membra Disjecta for John Cage: Wanting to Say Something About John" is an international group exhibition featuring works about the American composer by more than sixty artists. John Cage is one of the most important personalities in the arts from the 20th century. His radical aesthetic concept expanded the classic understanding of music and art, and influenced happenings, the Fluxus movement, and minimal art. Curated by Jozef Cseres and Georg Weckwerth, the show is on view at freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL at the MuseumsQuartier Wien from February 17 to May 6, 2012.

Few artists have had such a profound effect on 20th-century art as composer, musician, visual artist, and writer John Cage (1912-1992). Inspired by Zen Buddhism and Marcel Duchamp's understanding of art, in the 1940s and 50s John Cage developed experimental music with unusual sound sources, bizarre instruments, and everyday noises. He organized sounds and events and introduced chance as an important element in his work. His aesthetics formed the basis for the emergence of minimalist art and actionist movements such as happenings and Fluxus, influencing both visual art and music.

Featuring more than hundred different works, "Membra Disjecta for John Cage: Wanting to Say Something About John" is an homage to John Cage, whose hundred birthday is being celebrated around the world in 2012. The Latin term "membra disjecta" in the exhibition title indicates John Cage's method of working with a scattering of elements from various sources. The subtitle refers to a multiple that John Cage created in Marcel Duchamp's honor after his death: "Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel."

John Cage's intermedia and multimedia works and his open approach to art is reflected in the interdisciplinary contributions to this exhibition, ranging from paintings to drawings, prints, sound installations, collages, instructive pieces, sculptural objects, installations, and videos. Concerts, performances, lectures, and a workshop for kids and teens are also being offered in conjunction with the exhibition.

Participants include many friends, companions, and contemporaries of John Cage as well as younger artists, among them Milan Adamciak (SVK), Tyler Adams (USA), Sam Ashley (USA), Conny Blom (S), William Brovelli/Margaret Leng Tan (USA), Arturas Bumsteinas (LTU), Christopher Chew/Margaret Leng Tan (USA), Nicolas Collins (USA), Philip Corner (USA/ITA), Alvin Curran (USA/ITA), Arnold Dreyblatt (USA/GER), David Dunn (USA), Peter Graham (CZE), Sabine Groschup (AUT), Milan Grygar (CZE), GX Jupitter-Larsen (USA), Franz Hautzinger (AUT), Pierre Hebert (CAN), Gary Hill (USA), Svetozar Ilavsky (SVK), Hilary Jeffery (GBR/NED), Hassan Khan (EGY), Alison Knowles (USA), Richard Kostelanetz (USA), Petr Kotik (USA/CZE), Joan La Barbara (USA), Brandon LaBelle (USA), Alan Licht (USA), Benoit Maubrey (USA/GER), Gordon Monahan (CAN), David Moss (GBR/GER), Morgan O'Hara (USA), Marian Palla (CZE), Paul Panhuysen (NED), Ben Patterson (USA/GER), Michael Prime (GBR), George Quasha (USA), Keith Rowe (GBR), Blahoslav Rozbo?il (CZE), Jan SteklĂ­k (CZE), Volker Straebel (GER), Jiri Sigut (CZE), Richard Teitelbaum (USA), John Tilbury (GBR), Yasunao Tone (USA), The Lazy Anarchists (SVK/HUN/USA/GER), Kris Vleeschouwer (BEL), Hong-Kai Wang (TW), and Christian Wolff (USA). Some of them will be living and working in Vienna in the coming months as quartier21/MQ Artists-in-Residence.

The exhibition is being organized as part of the quartier21/MQ series "freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL" in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for European and international affairs, the Slovak Cultural Institute in Vienna, the Czech Center in Vienna, and other national and international partners.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue in English and Czech published by Galerie vytvarneho umeni v Ostrave.

Image: John Cage, Frankfurt 1986 (c) Andreas Pohlmann

Presse quartier21/MQ:
Mag. Julia Assl Tel. [+43] (0)1 / 5235881 - 1738 E-Mail:

Press tour: Thu, Feb 16, 11:00
Opening: Thu, Feb 16, 19:00

freiraum quartier21 INTERNATIONAL
MuseumsQuartier Museumsplatz 1 Wien
daily 10:00-19:00
Free admission


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