Zen Ox-Herding Pictures by John Cage

by Vertebrata

In 1988, Ray Kass, professor emeritus of art, Virginia Tech, invited seminal composer, philosopher, writer, and visual artist John Cage (American, 1912-1992) to paint at the Mountain Lake Workshop in Blacksburg. They began a series of experiments with watercolor pigments that resulted in 55 densely marked paper towels.
Two decades later, Cage’s pupil and friend Stephen Addiss created three sets of images that echoed the narrative of the “Ox-herding Pictures,” an illustrated parable to which Cage often referred in his discussions and writings.

 

 

 

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