This past weekend marked the culmination of months of preparation at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, where I work as the Program Assistant. We hosted our annual international conference, ReVIEWING Black Mountain College, which focused this year on John Cage’s Circle of Influences. I share this with y’all for two reasons: (1) as an offering/explanation for my many months of blog neglect, and (2) as a means to discuss the goings on of said months, which connect both indirectly and directly to the conference.
Thanks to Julie J. Johnson and Helen Wykle, who both presented at the conference, I came to a deeper understanding of the importance of John Cage’s Experimental Composition class, which he taught at The New School in the late 1950s. The class inspired a generation of artists–Allan Kaprow, Dick Higgins, Allison Knowles–all of whom I’ve recently been researching for their role in the history of art as social practice. Contemporary organizations such as InCUBATE and Creative Time, as well as academic programs including PSU’s Art and Social Practice MFA and MICA’s Community Arts MA, nod either directly or indirectly to Cage’s influence.
I always find it so satisfying when seemingly disparate parts of my world come together! I anticipate that the connections will continue to emerge this weekend, when I’ll be attending Making, Meaning and Context: A Radical Reconsideration of Art’s Work, hosted by Goddard College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program in Plainfield, VT. I’ll keep you posted… literally!