ASIAN ART Museum Assignment: ZEN, POP, CONCEPT ART
DOING JOHN CAGE'S 4'33" WITH GEORGE LEONARD:
THE DIRECT TRANSMISSION OF THE DHARMA FROM CAGE AND ALLAN KAPROW TO YOU
!!!PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTION STEP BY STEP!!! IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK!!!
Before museum: Read INTO THE LIGHT OF THINGS 168-174, about how and why Cage came up with 4'33".
When we do 4'33" you can stand by the artwork or at a distance. Just listen for the signal to start, then silently listen and look around you. I won't explain there, we can't stop the flow of traffic. Spread out and let people through.
Afterwards, READ ASSIGNMENT ON KAPROW IN INTO THE LIGHT OF THINGS FIRST. Read 187-190 about this kind of art's goal: the "transfiguration of the commonplace," the mystical wonder of ordinary things.
THE WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT, DUE TWO WEEKS FROM OUR NEXT CLASS:
Part 1: Go throught the permanent collection. Describe in minute detail ONE artwork or object which reminded you of Cage, Kaprow, and what I said about Zen. Make notes in the museum. Number that, Part 1. One page, maximum! Weight: ONLY 10 points.
Part 2: Find a favorite artpiece on the 2nd floor. Sit, contemplating your piece, for at least four minutes and thirty three seconds. Once one of my students contemplated a Robert Ryman for nearly two hours, but he had been a Zen monk. Expect it to be hard work. There will be alternating periods of boredom and interest. You've practiced.
Back at home, re-read Into the Light of Things, 3-5, 12-17, 86-88, about this kind of art's goal: the "transfiguration of the commonplace," the mystical wonder of ordinary things. Does it relate to your experience with the painting? Quote the book, be specific. Title this Part 2. Minimum, three pages. I'm only looking for your new command of the technical terms and concepts relating to this topic! I MARK ON THE PROSE. THIS IS JUST A WRITING ASSIGNMENT, AS FAR AS THE MARK IS CONCERNED. You don't have to reach nirvana or satori! Weight: Eighty points! Spend time here. Write according to the hints in Break Writer's Block. (https://read.amazon.com/) if it asks for Username and Password, please let me know.
Part 3, one page only. OPTIONAL. Tell me if you had any visual or auditory experiences after contemplation that struck you as novel or unusual. (Avoid telling me you found faces, skulls, etc. hidden in the painting. People can find them even in clouds, if they look long enough.) The experiences usually will happen within 72 hours after you left the museum. You may not realize they happened until well after they did. If you had none, just report that, in good prose. Amazingly, most people will have one. That's why we value this kind of art: it works. Weight for Question 3: 10 points IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO IT. (for the prose, not for the experience or lack of it.) NO DEDUCTION FOR SKIPPING THIS QUESTION.
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