Thursday, September 24, 2009

Art from the Home of Cage & Cunnigham

The New York Times announced a Christie's auction of art pieces from the Chelsea apartment of John Cage and Merce Cunningham. The life-long partners kept a private collection of sorts, comprising works by friends Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others—but none of the pieces had been appraised or insured. Cage and Cunningham gathered art purely for the joy of having it nearby.

For updated information on our John Cage title, click here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memory of Sultan Munadi

In recent months, Braziller, Inc., has followed a number of stories about struggling or fallen journalists, some suffering persecution for their political views, others entering battlefields to expose the realities of modern war. Their sacrifices are enormous. Two days ago, The New York Times lost Afghan journalist Sultan Munadi after he was abducted by gunmen along with correspondent Stephen Farrell. But he is survived by his remarkable words and unfailing hopes for a more peaceful Afghanistan. We post one of his blog entries here, as it is an incredible example of a journalist's dedication to his cause:

"I grew up in the Panjshir Valley, in a place that is a three-hour walk from the nearest road. We don’t have a lot of iron there, we don’t have concrete, we don’t have these artificial things. It’s a completely natural place.

I grew up there, and when I went to Germany to study for a master’s degree in public policy I saw concrete everywhere, a lot of glass, asphalt and artificial things. It was depressing, very boring for me. I was dreaming of the dust, I was dreaming of nature in my country, of the mountains. It’s really nice to be back for a while, it’s very hard to be away for two years.

If I were a teenager, it would be easier to be integrated into the society in Germany, but now at the age of 34, it is difficult to be away from my country. I would not leave Afghanistan. I have passed the very darkest times of my country, when there was war and insecurity. I was maybe four or five years old when we went from my village into the mountains and the caves to hide, because the Soviets were bombing. I have passed those times, and the time of the Taliban when I could not even go to Kabul, inside my country. It was like being in a prison.

Those times are past now. Now I am hopeful of a better situation. And if I leave this country, if other people like me leave this country, who will come to Afghanistan? Will it be the Taliban who come to govern this country? That is why I want to come back, even if it means cleaning the streets of Kabul. That would be a better job for me, rather than working, for example, in a restaurant in Germany.

Being a journalist is not enough; it will not solve the problems of Afghanistan. I want to work for the education of the country, because the majority of people are illiterate. That is the main problem facing many Afghans. I am really committed to come back and work for my country."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Forthcoming John Cage book in the news again!

Publisher's Weekly decided that one review just wasn't enough on our fall release, John Cage: Zen Ox-herding Pictures, so they included another one in their recent Nonfiction Reviews:

"Known best for his music and performances, John Cage also painted and wrote extensively. Zen Buddhism influenced his approach to his work—nature as a path to self, collaboration in performance and happenstance in composition. The art and poetry in this book represent a collaboration both accidental and deliberate between Cage, Addiss and Kass. Cage was working on another series of paintings when he marked a series of brown paper towels. Artist Kass and artist/composer Addiss ordered the towels into a sequence, then Addiss culled Cage's writings to create a cutup or recomposition of found words and phrases into a new work.

Cage recognized the importance of the remix long before it became fashionable. The accidental circumstances of this work's assemblage doesn't diminish its charm or delicacy. The introductory material provides essential context, but the best approach may be to read and view the work, read the essays, then review the piece again. Addiss and Kass prove the continuing relevance of the tradition of ox-herding as a format for teaching and connecting the heart to the mind. 50 color and 12 b&w illus. (Oct.)"

—Publishers Weekly
Nonfiction Reviews: 8/17/2009:

John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures
Stephen Addiss and Ray Kass. Braziller, $34.95 (128p)

ISBN 978-0-8076-1601-7