John Cage (Los Angeles, 1912-1992)
Composer John Cage
Bibliography: Silence (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1961). A Year from Monday (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1967). M: Writings '67-'72 (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1973). Empty Words, Writings '73-'79 (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1979). X: Writings '79-'82 (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1983). I-VI/John Cage (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), + 2 sound cassettes.
Musicage: Cage Muses on Words, Art, Music (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1985).
About: Richard Kostelanetz, John Cage (ex)plain(ed) (New York: Schirmer Books, 1996). Susan Sontag, Cage-Cunningham-Johns: Dancers on a Plane (New York: Knopf, 1990).

Conceptual Art
"Konzeption Conception," the first major event related to Conceptual Art, was held in Leverjusen, Germany, in 1969. The expression "concept art" had already been used in 1961 by Henry Flynt in a Fluxus publication, but it was to take on a different meaning when it was used by Joseph Kosuth and the Art & Language group in England. For them, the term referred to an investigation of the concept "art," where the art object itself was replaced by the analysis of it. The two basic ideas behind Conceptual Art were that artistic production should serve artistic knowledge and that the work of art is not an end in itself.Art & Language (Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge, Michael Baldwin, Harold Hurrell, Ian Burn, Mel Ramsden, Philip Pilkington, David Rushton), which created the magazine Art-Language in 1969, maintained that language is not employed as art but serves for the analysis of art. This argument reflected a distinctively Anglo-Saxon approach based on analytical philosophy and as such connected the members of the group to certain Minimalists. Conceptual Art views the artistic "fact" through the discourse surrounding it. The first conceptual works were presented as having no function other than the definition of themselves. Joseph Kosuth's One and Three Chairs, for example, consists of a folding chair, a photograph of a chair, and a photographic enlargement of a dictionary definition of a chair. The first exhibition specifically devoted to Conceptual Art took place in 1970 at the New York Cultural Center under the title "Conceptual Art and Conceptual Aspects." Kosuth's seminal article "Art after Philosophy," published in 1969 in Studio International, was reprinted in the catalogue.
Bibliography: Gregory Battcock (ed.), Idea Art, A Critical Anthology (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1973). Lucy C. Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972 (New York: Praeger, 1973). Robert C. Morgan, Conceptual Art: An American Perspective (Jefferson, N. C.: McFarland, 1994).

Merce Cunningham (Centralia, Washington, 1919- ).
Dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham was a soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1939 to 1945, but his collaboration with composer John Cage from 1942 until Cage's death in 1992 was to be determinant for his choreography. Cage's use of chance, as well as the I Ching (Book of Changes) and Zen philosophy, transformed Cunningham's perception of dance. In 1948, the two men began applying their ideas at Black Mountain College, and in this multidisciplinary environment, Cunningham was to encounter future collaborators such as artists Willem and Elaine De Kooning (The Ruse of Medusa, 1948) and Robert Rauschenberg (Minutie, 1954) and composer David Tudor. In 1952, Cunningham participated with Cage, Tudor, Rauschenberg, Mary Caroline Richard, and Charles Olson in an untitled event now considered the first happening. Cunningham revolutionized the concept of ballet by rejecting the traditional narrative convention in favor of pure movement. Taking on the dance/music relationship, he separated the two components to give each one its complete autonomy. Although Cage and Cunningham determined the length of a piece together, they did not became aware of each other's respective works until the night before the performance. The dancers circulated without any rhythmic support other than an internal perception of time. Cunningham's friendships with avant-garde painters led him to renew the stage space by abandoning the ancient hierarchy that made the center the focus of the action. Drawing on Einstein's theory of relativity, he made each point in space perfectly equal and thus capable of presenting multiple events simultaneously. As of 1964, he accentuated the reliance on chance that prevailed in his choreographies by creating events that were conceived at the last minute, from different pieces, in order to adapt to unconventional sites (Event Museum, Vienna, 1964). In 1967, painter Frank Stella designed the sets for Scramble. The following year, Cunningham presented Rain Forest on a stage invaded by Andy Warhol's helium-inflated silver pillows and also choreographed Walkaround Time, in which Marcel Duchamp had Jasper Johns adapt the Large Glass to fill the stage space of the ballet. Johns was to succeed Rauschenberg as the dance company's artistic director, but Cunningham also collaborated with Minimalist artist Robert Morris for Canfield (1969) and Inlets (1977), and Bruce Nauman designed the sets for Tread in 1970. Mark Lancaster became the company's artistic advisor in 1980, followed by William Anastasi and Dove Bradshaw in 1984. Among the other major composers collaborating with Cunningham were Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, PierreBoulez, La Monte Young, and Jon Gibson. In 1974, with the help of Charles Atlas, he began using video as a means of further experimentation; he played with the audience's frontal viewpoint and filmed from multiple camera angles. He also used the electronic properties of video to create works such as Blue Studio (1975) and Torse (1977). In 1992, he used the computer to elaborate Enter, a piece presented at the Paris Opera.
Bibliography: Notes on Choreography, ed. Frances Starr (New York: Something Else Press, 1969). The Dancer and the Dance. Merce Cunningham in conversation with Jacqueline Lesschaeve (New York: M. Boyars, 1985).
About: Raphaƫl de Gubernatis, Cunningham (Arles: B. Coutaz, 1990). James Klosty (ed.), Merce Cunningham (New York: Saturday Review Press, 1975). Richard Kostelanetz (ed.), Merce Cunningham, Dancing in Space and Time (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1992). Susan Sontag, Cage-Cunningham-Johns: Dancers on a Plane (New York: Knopf, 1990).