Friday, February 27, 2009

Charles Simic at the 92nd St. Y on Monday

Charles Simic, 15th US Poet Laureate and author of The Renegade, will be appearing on Monday, March 2 at the 92nd Street Y. Simic will be reading his work along with that of renowned Polish poet Julia Hartwig, who was also scheduled to appear but, unfortunately, due to illness, will be unable to attend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Publishers Weekly Covers John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures

Recently, Publishers Weekly ran this piece in their news section, covering our upcoming production of John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures:

This fall, New York independent George Braziller Publishers will release John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures. At first glance, the book may not seem unusual for the independent press, known for international literature and books on architecture. But the book has some unusual attributes: it features 50 previously unseen images made by artist and composer Cage (1912–1992) that will be made public for the first time. Production for the project coincides with a recent Guggenheim exhibition that highlighted Cage as a major influence in American art.

Editor Maxwell Heller said Professor Stephen Addiss of the University of Richmond and Professor Ray Kass of Virginia Tech University brought the project—which originally consisted of 55 sketches from a 1988 Mountain Lake Workshop (organized by Kass in Virginia) with fragments of his Zen poetry and excerpts from his lectures on Zen thought—to Braziller. In recent years, the publisher has focused on Asian art titles, including The Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido, which was covered by the New York Times Book Review and received praise from PW—so the collection of the Mountain Lake sketches, which Cage created in 1988, were of exceptional interest.

The timing was good, too: the Guggenheim exhibition "The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989," which is running in New York now through April, devotes considerable space to discussing Cage’s work and influence. Additionally, an exhibition of Cage’s work, organized by London’s Southbank Centre at the Hayward Gallery, will travel throughout the U.K in late 2009 and early 2010, following a Cage exhibition organized by the University of Richmond Museums here in the U.S. -- Lynn Andrian

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Charles Simic in PW

15th U.S. poet laureate Charles Simic's new book of essays, The Renegade, which features a collection of his most memorable writings on poetry, art, and the events that have shaped the lives and work of some of the West's greatest writers, recently received a glowing review in the February 9 issue of Publishers Weekly:

U.S. poet laureate Simic casts his knowing eye over a range of subjects in 16 biographical/critical pieces, many originally published in the New York Review of Books and other journals. In the opening, autobiographical piece, Simic, born in 1938, recalls his Belgrade, Yugoslavia, childhood unsentimentally... and continues with his arrival in America as a teenager and how his growing distaste for Serbian nationalism turned him into a renegade. Simic then roves outward to figures such as the misunderstood and underappreciated E.A. Robinson; melancholy Robert Creeley of Black Mountain Review fame; surrealist-inspired Yves Bonnefoy; and fellow U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall. He examines the endless quirks of Witold Gombrowicz, the eclectic originality of W.G. Sebald and certainly one of the greatest artistic renegades anywhere, Christopher Marlowe. Also among these elegant, penetrating writings are essays on a MoMA exhibit of Dada and on Whitman, not to mention a memorable segue on the world's worst haircut.

Catch The Renegade in April, just in time for National Poetry Month!

Friday, February 6, 2009

John Cage at the Guggenheim

Have you been out to see The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989 at the Guggenheim? It's a fascinating look on the influence of Asian art and culture (particularly that of Zen Buddhism among the Beats, who are well-represented) on America's artistic development. The New York Times recently featured a review of the exhibit.

Reading the biographical information for many of the artists, it's hard not to come across John Cage's name. As Holland Cotter writes in the New York Times review:
A section of the show is dedicated to him, or rather to a concept he embodied, one absolutely central to Asian culture: the idea of lineage, the transmission of forms and knowledge from mind to mind.

Cage developed his aesthetic of chance operation in part through study with the Zen scholar D. T. Suzuki, and shared what he learned with contemporaries like Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns...

But Cage’s creative DNA also passed on to a generation of younger, Zen-tinged, Neo-Dada artists who used the group name Fluxus. Work by several of them — Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Alison Knowles — is assembled near Cage’s, along with a ready-for-the-future-travel suitcase packed with Fluxiana.
In the fall, we'll be publishing John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures which assembles fifty watercolor pieces made by Cage at the Mountain Lake Workshop as practice for his larger works. These pieces were preserved by Ray Kass, the founder of the workshop, and will be presented for the first time in this book along with essays by Kass and co-author Stephen Addiss about the significance of the pictures and the influence of Zen on the life and art of John Cage.

In short, go see the exhibit and keep an eye out for John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures this fall!