John Cage, ‘Various editions from William Copley's S.M.S. portfolios’, 1968, New Museum
John Cage, ‘Various editions from William Copley's S.M.S. portfolios’, 1968, New Museum

About John Cage

One of the most influential composers of the 20th century and a leading figure in the post-war avant-garde, John Cage was a music theorist, writer, and artist, as well as a composer. His most famous piece, 4’33” (1952), consisted of musicians doing nothing but listening to the sounds in a room for the duration of 4 minutes and 33 seconds. For Cartridge Music (1960), he amplified small household objects in a live performance. Influenced by Indian philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Duchamp’s readymades, Cage championed chance procedures in music, incorporating found sounds, noise, and alternative instruments into his compositions. Two important early collaborators were the painter Robert Rauschenberg and the dancer Merce Cunningham, who was also his romantic partner for most of their lives. Cage published his first book, Silence, in 1961 and, in the 1970s, began to transform literary works, including those of Joyce and Thoreau, into music.

American, 1912-1992, Los Angeles, California, based in New York, New York

About Christo

Christo is best known for monumental collaborations with his late partner Jeanne-Claude. The duo’s projects, such as The Gates in Central Park and Wrapped Reichstag intervened in public spaces in order to draw attention to them. “We borrow space and create gentle disturbances for a few days,” Christo once said. “We inherit everything that is inherent in the space to become part of the work of art. All our projects are like fabulous expeditions.” Since Jeanne-Claude’s passing, Christo has worked to complete unrealized projects such as Over The River, a miles-long stretch of fabric that would function as a canopy over the Arkansas River. In gallery spaces, Christo presents schematic drawings of the duo’s work, which exhibit the artist’s technical mastery and undergird their massive installations, connecting the big ideas to their inception as free-floating thoughts.

American-Bulgarian, b. 1935, Gabrovno, Bulgaria, based in New York, New York

About Marcel Duchamp

Associated with the Dada, Surrealist, Cubist, and Futurist movements, Marcel Duchamp radically subverted conventional practices of artmaking and display, challenging such weighty notions as the hand of the artist and the sanctity of the art object. Duchamp’s depiction of dynamic Cubist forms in Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912) established him as a leading member of the international avant-garde. In 1913 Duchamp created Bicycle Wheel, which is considered the first of his famous readymades—minimally altered objects that are elevated to the status of art simply through the designation of the artist. Particularly in his readymades, Duchamp placed unprecedented emphasis on the artistic concept as paramount over craftsmanship or aesthetics, a guiding principle that has proved hugely influential to 20th-century artistic practice.

French, 1887-1968, Blainville-Crevon Seine-Maritime, France

About Yoko Ono

Known for her experimental art, music, filmmaking, and feminism, as well as for her marriage to John Lennon, Yoko Ono was a major figure in the 1960s New York underground art scene, and she continues to produce work and make headlines today. Of several iconic conceptual and performance art pieces that Ono produced, the most famous is Cut Piece (1964), first performed in Tokyo, in which she kneeled on the floor of a stage while members of the audience gradually cut off her clothes. In the ’60s and ’70s Ono was associated with the Fluxus movement—a loose group of avant-garde Dada-inspired artists—and produced printed matter, such as a book titled Grapefruit (1964) containing instructions for musical and artistic pieces. Other works include Smoke Painting (1961), a canvas that viewers were invited to burn. John Cage was a major influence and collaborator for Ono, as was the godfather of Fluxus, George Maciunas.

Japanese, b. 1933, Tokyo, Japan, based in New York, New York

About Roy Lichtenstein

When American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein painted Look Mickey in 1961, it set the tone for his career. This primary-color portrait of the cartoon mouse introduced Lichtenstein’s detached and deadpan style at a time when introspective Abstract Expressionism reigned. Mining material from advertisements, comics, and the everyday, Lichtenstein brought what was then a great taboo—commercial art—into the gallery. He stressed the artificiality of his images by painting them as though they’d come from a commercial press, with the flat, single-color Ben-Day dots of the newspaper meticulously rendered by hand using paint and stencils. Later in his career, Lichtenstein extended his source material to art history, including the work of Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, and experimented with three-dimensional works. Lichtenstein’s use of appropriated imagery has influenced artists such as Richard Prince, Jeff Koons, and Raymond Pettibon.

American, 1923-1997, New York, New York, based in New York and Southampton, New York

Group Shows

2016
2016
London,
New Tate Modern Switch House: Extension and Installation
2015
Miami,
Recent Acquisitions + Highlights from the MDC Permanent Art Collection

About Lawrence Weiner

Influential Conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner is known for his language-based sculpture and works pursuing inquiries into language and a radical redefinition of the artist/viewer relationship. In pieces like A Square Removal From a Rug in Use (1969) or Encased By + Reduced to Rust (1986), the value exists in the idea itself, as expressed in words. Considering language to be a sculptural material and believing that a construction in language can function as sculpture as adequately as a fabricated object, Weiner's works operate beyond the specificity and constraints of traditional presentation, inspiring artists like Barbara Kruger and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

American, b. 1942, Bronx, NY, United States, based in New York, NY, United States