F E A T U R E D    P U B L I C A T I O N S

& HOWARD RISATTI

overview

Contemporary art, interdisciplinary research, traditional Appalachian culture, and advanced technology converge in The Mountain Lake Symposium and Workshop: Artists in Locale. Published to coincide with the exhibition of the same name, the book showcases the collaborative creative works that emerged from the Mountain Lake Symposium, a decade-long theoretical art criticism conference founded by artist Ray Kass in 1980 and co-organized with art critic Donald B. Kuspit and Howard Risatti. The Mountain Lake Workshop integrated the arts and sciences into a dynamic experimental creative process that expanded the traditional boundaries of visual art. Artists who have created works at the Mountain Lake Workshop include John Cage, Merce Cunningham, James De La Vega, Howard Finster, Lynn Hull, Jessie Mann, Sally Mann, Jackie Matisse, Jiro Okura, M. C. Richards, Dorothea Rockburne, Wayne Thiebaud, Cy Twombly, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and many others.

This book’s essays and extensive photographs serve as a critical reflection of the Mountain Lake Symposium’s history and impact, and of the ongoing collaborative Mountain Lake Workshops that continue to demonstrate the relevance of the arts across various disciplines.

details

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: University of Virginia Press (October 22, 2018)

Publish Date: October 2018

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0997838108

ISBN-13: 978-0997838107

Product Dimensions: 12 x 1.5 x 9 inches

Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds

RAY KASS

MtnLakeSymposium_edited.jpg

overview

Best known as an experimental composer and performer, John Cage (1912–1992) was also an active visual artist who created an extensive body of prints, drawings, and watercolors over the last twenty years of his life. The Sight of Silence: John Cage’s Complete Watercolors provides the first opportunity to see all 125 signed watercolors that Cage created during four week-long sessions at the Mountain Lake Workshop, Virginia, between 1983 and 1990.

In all of his work, regardless of medium, Cage consistently dismissed conventional aesthetics by limiting or eliminating the artist’s choice in the creative process. In composing his watercolors, he relied on his signature method of "chance operations," guided by a system of random numbers derived from the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, or I Ching.

This book’s critical essay and accompanying workshop diaries relate the methods at play in Cage’s visual art to those of his musical compositions and theater pieces. The accompanying DVD offers a "live" view of John Cage at work, featuring a public reading with audience discussion, as well as an interview with him about his watercolor paintings. As visual evidence of the methods of chance that Cage employed for decades, the watercolors in this book and the video footage on the accompanying DVD offer an entrée into Cage’s music and writings and present a greatly enhanced understanding of one of the twentieth century’s most mystifying artists and most creative thinkers.

reviews

"Composer and performer John Cage (1912-1992), the epitome of the avant-garde artist, expanded from music composition into the world of visual art, and employed the philosophy of non-intention.... Cage's visual works began with etchings called Where R=Ryoanji, a series of outlines of stones, inspired by the Ryoanji Zen garden in Kyoto. He continued to work on this project at the Mountain Lake Workshop in Virginia, founded and directed by Kass. Cage produced his series, River Rocks and Smoke, using papers burned and pressed, then painted with various washes, and finally outlined using local stones from the New River. His depth of purpose is evident here, as is Cage's incredible talent."  —Publishers Weekly

"These remarkable paintings bring together fire (for smoked paper), water (the paint and washes), earth (both pigments and river stones for tracing), and wind (the all-important breath) in exciting ways that suggest the great silence that is possible when we allow ourselves to get out of the way."  —The Bloomsbury Review

"The Sight of Silence: John Cage’s Complete Watercolors” Publishers Weekly, July 1, 2011

Bingham, Tom. "“The Sight Of Silence: John Cage’s Complete Watercolors” by Ray Kass (distrib. by University of Virginia Press)” Generally Eclectic Review, December 5, 2011

details

Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: University of Virginia Press (October 22, 2018)

Publish Date: October 2018

Language: English 

Product Dimensions: 12 x 1.5 x 9 inches

ISBN-10: 0997838108
ISBN-13: 978-0997838107

Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds

the-sight-of-silence--front-cover1.jpg

RAY KASS

& STEPHEN ADDISS

overview

This book brings together fifty never-before-seen images made in collaboration with renowned artist and composer John Cage, revealing the powerful influence of Zen in his life and work. These exquisite artifacts date from the 1988 Mountain Lake Workshop, where they were preparatory studies  for greater endeavors by Cage.  Now, nearly two decades later, these images have been utilized in a new collaboration as illustrations enlivening the classic “Ten Ox-Herding Pictures.”  The story of this collaboration draws upon resources from Cage’s visual art, lectures, poetry, and the reflections of his colleagues and students.

Mountain Lake Workshop founder and director Ray Kass (who first recognized the beauty of these artifacts) and Stephen Addiss (scholar, artist, and student of Cage) provide introductory essays, discussing their own experiences with the collaboration. Juxtaposing Cage’s meditative studies with the “Ten Ox-Herding Pictures,” a series of images that has been used to communicate the essence of Zen for nearly one thousand years, the authors also explore fragments of Cage’s poetry and his many statements about Zen practice. These explorations provide a fascinating lens through which the reader can view the Mountain Lake Workshop images, allowing us to see them as mysterious echoes of the centuries-old “Ten Ox-Herding Paintings” themselves—images about searching for, finding, and returning from the path to enlightenment.

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."  

—Publishers Weekly

Hiles, Rachel. "Books in Brief Spring 2010" Tricycle, Spring, 2010

Wei, Lilly. "Zen and Now" ArtNews, December, 2009

John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures” Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2009

details

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: George Braziller Inc.; First Edition
Publish Date: October 7, 2009
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080761601X
ISBN-13: 978-0615401805
Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 8.7 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds 

RAY KASS

overview

Sounds of the Inner Eye explores the artistic and biographical connection among three of the Pacific Northwest's most significant and highly respected artists. Mark Tobey, often aligned with the abstract expressionists, was a pioneer in integrating elements of Asian art into mystical, calligraphic paintings. Morris Graves, known as something of an art world maverick, combined Eastern religious beliefs and a deep appreciation of the natural world in his work, focusing initially on the Northwest's birds and vegetation. John Cage, an avant-garde composer, philosopher, writer, and printmaker, began his visual creations with graphic representations of musical scores, and then evolved to include printmaking, drawing, and watercolor. Sounds of the Inner Eye explores the lives and careers of these three men who were instrumental in leading a community of artists, patrons, and scholars into a deeper understanding of the potential and power of art and, in turn, had a large impact on much of what followed in modern art in America. Known as the Northwest Mystics, they were influenced by Eastern philosophies and the natural beauty of the Pacific Rim. Their legendary nickname has remained over time, helping to establish the Northwest as a center for artistic talent, worthy of the admiration of the international art community.

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."  —Publishers Weekly

John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures” Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2009

Also in German: Klange  des  Inneren  Auges: Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, John Cage. Essay: Morris Graves, Meditation on Nature, pgs 24 – 36, 2003.  Kunsthalle Bremen/Foundation Beyeler, Schirmer-Mosel, Munich, (in German-some English).

details

Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Publish Date: August, 2002
Language: English (and German)
ISBN-10: 0295982748
ISBN-13: 978-0295982748
Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds

RAY KASS

overview

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Morris Graves (1910-2001) always stepped to the tune of a different drummer. As a sickly child with a love for flowers, he spent hours designing rock gardens in his mind and later, as a young proto- hippie, he dropped out of high school to embark for the Orient by ship. ''In Japan I at once had the feeling that this was the right way to do everything,'' he later said, and his feeling for Asian religion and philosophy has always imbued his work. Closely allied with the visionary, Asian-influenced group of Northwest artists led by the late Mark Tobey, Graves has produced a mystical art in which spiritual states are expressed by elemental symbols - birds, flowers, pine trees, the sea - as well as by Buddhist motifs.

We get a bird's-eye view of his very productive career in ''Morris Graves: Vision of the Inner Eye," a collection of more than 100 paintings - mostly in the tricky medium of tempera on paper - sculptures and drawings from the mid-1930's to the present (as of the date of this publication).

(Published in conjunction with the exhibition held in Washington, D.C., April 9 – May 29, 1983)

reviews

Birds are, of course, the dominant theme in this large body of work; birds of every breed, including some that never were. But though the birds are real birds drawn with a nice exactitude - Graves is a marvelous draftsman, well grounded in observation of nature; even his fantastical birds seem ornithologically respectable - we are meant to regard them as something other than fowl studies. They are metaphors for the human spirit and its various stages of cosmic awareness; Graves views art as a means of guiding humankind from ''partial to full consciousness.''   —The New York Times

Glueck, Grace. "Art: Whitney Presents a Graves Retrospective" The New York Times, September 16, 1983

details

Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: George Braziller; First Edition
Publish Date: August, 1988
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0807610690
ISBN-13: 978-0807610695
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.3 x 0.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

RAY KASS

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