Pop Culture
Jul 23, 2012, 06:32AM

Every Word Is In a State of Disintegration

A 1974 Archives of American Art interview with the late composer John Cage vs. a 2003 BOMB Magazine interview with the late artist Sol LeWitt.

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Sol LeWitt: Each development leads to the next.

John Cage: It began with tapestry and relics.

SL: These were maps and postcards with drawings or cutouts, crumpled paper, folded paper, torn paper, and so on.

JC: Mostly unfinished things.

SL: This kept them simple.

JC: I had a pole with a chicken feather on one end and every time he instructed me to move the cardboards, and then to still them because he couldn't take the frame until it was not moving. Do you know his name?

SL: If he had lived longer I believe he would have made more films.

JC: Instead of painting.

SL: Words are another thing.

JC: No. Every word is in a state of disintegration.

SL: Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but even if they don’t they may lead to something that does—a revelation.

JC: Well, we had all these discussions and talks. We went on and on thinking of possibilities.

SL: I was not interested in that. Too large, and it becomes grandiose and rhetorical. Too small, and it becomes an object.

JC: But we are warned against learning anything else. You don’t leave the painting unpainted.

SL: You shouldn’t be a prisoner of your own ideas.

JC: So I hitch-hiked up to San Francisco.


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