John Cage's contribution to twentieth-century music, literature and art not only established his place as a leading figure in the post-war avant-garde, but also guaranteed his enduring controversy. His emphasis on chance, as opposed to intention, rejected traditional artistic methods and caused uproar amongst his peers. The shock provoked by pieces such as 4'33" still reverberates today, as Cage's radical approach to art and aesthetics continues to challenge and inspire artists worldwide. In his new biography Rob Haskins considers John Cage's life, art, ideas and work, evaluating the twin pillars of Cage's creative output and the ideas that lie behind it. Demystifying the artist's use of chance, and his relationship to Zen Buddhism, the book explores Cage's belief that everyday life and art are one and the same. John Cage will appeal to musicians and artists, as well as general readers interested in the art, music and ideas of the twentieth century.
Rob Haskins is Assistant Professor in the Department of Music at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and has been involved with John Cage's music as both a scholar and a performer for almost twenty years. He is the author of Anarchic Societies of Sounds: The Number Pieces of John Cage (2009).