Library Exhibitions


Experimental music from 1950s New York

September - December 2016

Photograph of John Cage at a drinks reception at the Cage/Cunningham Residency at the Laban Centre, Laurie Grove, London, July 1980

Photo by Peter Sayers (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Currently on display is a selection of scores from the library’s collection by John Cage, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff and Earle Brown, all of whom in 1950s New York were experimenting with a new degree of indeterminacy in their pieces and an interest in treating sounds as objects rather than vehicles for expression. These composers also had many friends among the painters working in New York at the time – people such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman and Franz Kline – and it seems no coincidence that the design and visual impact of their scores were also of great importance to them.


A summary of past exhibitions is available on this website. For more in-depth information about the library's exhibitions, please see our posts about exhibitions on the Jerwood Library blog.