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American experimental music class held by John Cage in New York. Although Cage had been faculty at the New School for Social Research (called the University in Exile in the period of and immediately after World War II, and subsequently, The New School University) since the early 1950s, team-teaching with his early mentor Henry Cowell (1897–1965), his critical tenure there was 1956–1960. It was in these years that his own work was hitting its greatest strides, and his dynamic classes reflected as much. The class focused on Cage’s most exploratory moves in music, not only his own trajectory—informed by Marcel Duchamp, Zen, and the international postwar avant-garde scene—but also new developments at Darmstadt (whether he was for them or against them), the world epicenter for exploratory musical work, which was driven by a younger generation mostly engaged with new sound technology.

Cage’s pedagogical modus operandi was surprising, in part due to his strikingly “low-tech” means. He was known for exemplifying the spatialization of sound, and its capacity for constant change, by such methods as placing a pencil—rubber eraser pointing down—between the strings of the New School classroom piano, to show students how, via direct alterations to the source, sound could be ...

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Deborah Cullen

(Raphel)

(b Brooklyn, New York, 1934).

American performance artist, educator and founder of El Museo del Barrio, New York. Ortiz grew up in New York and received his BFA and MFA from Pratt Institute in 1964, and his PhD in Fine Arts and Fine Arts in Higher Education at the Teachers College of Columbia University, 1982.

In the late 1950s, Ortiz began exploring ritual and destruction. Taking found filmstrips, he placed them in a medicine bag and used a hatchet to cut them into pieces. He then spliced them together in random order, creating a series of short, cut-up films. This led to his first private, ritually transformed domestic objects between 1959 and 1961, which often included cushions, chairs and sofas from his studio worked over several days, and the Archaeological Finds series between 1961 and 1967. He authored Destructivism: A Manifesto between 1957 and 1962.

Carrying out public Destruction Ritual Realizations between 1965 and 1970...