Presentation by Julie Lazar

Join us for a presentation by independent curator and arts consultant Julie Lazar.

Rolywholyover A Circus for museum by John Cage premiered on 12 September 1993 at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Cage (1912-92) deeply influenced not only the field of twentieth-century music but also aesthetic thought in general through his body of work ranging from ground-breaking musical compositions to deeply insightful writings to meditative visual artworks.

One of the final projects that he developed prior to his death, the ‘Circus’ assumed the form of an exhibition but was in fact a composition of inert artworks that changed: a dynamic, non-static work of art. Cage said of this project, "The basic idea is that the exhibition would change so much that if you came back a second time, you wouldn't recognize it."
Rolywholyover A Circus incorporated methodologies of indeterminacy to create a work without one focus or center, thus remaining faithful to Cage's ideas and composing strategies since the 1950s. The word ‘rolywholyover’, from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, suggests revolution and dynamic movement, and the ‘Circus’ of the title describes a compositional motif in which many events happen simultaneously. This Circus had several parts, each which utilized the disciplinary process of chance operations that Cage employed in the creation of his art through a computerized I Ching (Chinese Book of Changes) program.

The process of change and chance in the artwork encouraged visitors to heighten their awareness. "We live but living means crossing through the world of relationships or representations. Yet, we never see ourselves in the act of crossing that world! And we never do anything but that!" (John Cage, speaking with Daniel Charles in For the Birds, 1981, p.93).

Organization and presentation of Rolywholyover A Circus was by former founding MOCA curator Julie Lazar with the assistance of a team of advisors that included: Stephen Addiss, Andrew Culver, Judith Kays, Laura Kuhn, Frans van Rossum, and David Vaughan. Research and administrative assistance were provided by Sarah Koplin and Brent Zerger.

This event is organised by Platform for Interdisciplinary Research in Art, Technology and Education (PIRATE), with support of the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.

About the presenter

Julie Lazar is an independent curator and arts consultant based in the Bay Area specializing in the production and presentation of new artworks in multiple genres. She relocated to California to serve as a Founding Curator and Director of Experimental Programs (1981-2000), at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Earlier in New York, Lazar led development programs at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Hudson River Museum, Rockefeller University, and The Museum of Modern Art. She began her work with non-profits at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

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Courtesy of Julie Lazar.