American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde. Cage composed using chance procedures, such as consulting the Chinese divination book, I Ching, or star charts, to yield works in which sounds were free from the composer’s will. “Haiku” is built around three measures of five, seven, and five quarter notes each, in the manner of Japanese haiku poems. His theory of creating art using chance continues to influence theater, music, dance choreography, and visual art.

John Cage composed and printed Haiku at Black Mountain College in the early 1950s. Cage staged his first “happening” while he was at Black Mountain College, which anticipated the later Fluxus (“fluxus” is meant to suggest “flow” and “effluent”) Art Movement characterized by reduced gestures. John Cage was also among faculty at the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago.

John Cage
Alexandria Museum of Art Collection, Gift of Betty Parsons Foundation 1985.06a-b
leaf of music: zinc line cut on Kochi paper envelope: print on Omi V paper
13 x 14 inches

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