SOMArts: Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance

by Monique Delaunay, Editor on 01/12/2012

Curated by SOMArts’ Justin Hoover and Hanna Regev, “Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance” at SOMArts Cultural Center provides a rich, multimedia celebration of John Cage’s pervading influence in the arts, while also investigating the connections of chance across cultural beliefs, values and art practices.

This exhibition of art by more than 30 artists celebrates the centennial birthday of American composer, music theorist and philosopher John Cage. Although chance was a foundation of other art movements like the Surrealists that predate the artist’s practice, Cage introduced chance as a means of erasing authorship and bringing the inherent value or idea of the work to the forefront. In 1951, John Cage’s friend and pupil Christian Wolff presented him with a copy of the I Ching, which describes a symbol system used to identify order in chance events. The book became a tool for Cage to compose using chance.

The works in the exhibit, like John Cage’s work,  include elements of chance and are influenced by international cultures, including Wiccan-based Tarot practice, the I-Ching, and the aesthetics of Zen pottery with Western abstract painting, installations and materials. The element of chance is utilized as varied as the work itself: some artists view chance as artwork dependent upon human interaction or participation, some explore chance within a variance in the levels of control in production, and others experiment with structured randomness.

SOMArt’s “Get Lucky: The Culture of Chance” is on view until January 26

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