[8. Pi / Holding Together [union], Six in the First Place, Six in the Fourth Place, Nine in the Fifth Place. Changing to: 51. Chên / The Arousing (Shock, Thunder).]
waiting for the bus, I happened to look at the paveMent
I wAs standing on ;
noticed no differRence between
looKing at art or away from it.
each Thing he saw
he asked us tO look at.
thE time we reached the Japanese restaurant
our eYes were open.
A very complex I-Ching reading today, in contrast to some of the simple unchanging ones in the past; I am particularly struck by the wording of “The Arousing,” and the many changing lines within “Union.”
John Cage first met Mark Tobey during his brief tenure at the Cornish School in Seattle. Cage was still a precocious young talent searching out his artistic future, and here he encountered many of the primary forces that would push his eventual path to New York in 1942. One of those forces was Mark Tobey.
There are a few good articles out there on Cage and Tobey, particularly Branden Joseph’s contribution to John Cage: Music, Philosophy and Intention, and a nice edition compiled in 2002 by Wulf Herzogenrath, Sounds of the Inner Eye, and most of Cage’s anecdotes about Tobey relate to one particular encounter in Seattle. This one is quoted over and over again:
I remember in particular a walk with Mark Tobey from the area of Seattle around the Cornish school downhill and through the town toward a Japanese Restaurant – a walk that would not normally take more than forty-five minutes, but on this occasion it must have taken several hours, because he was constantly stopping and pointing out things to see, opening my eyes in other words. Which, if I understand it at all, has been a function of twentieth-century art – to open our eyes.
Naturally this encounter is alluded to in the collection of mesostics Cage compiled in 1972, when he seemed to have run across Tobey, perhaps during his travels in Europe during the summer, as many of the mesostics describe the trip and Cage’s various interactions. Cage mentions several encounters from the 1930s, including his layaway purchase of a few Tobey paintings (which he eventually sold during his more desperate economic times in the 1950s), and an encounter with Pauline Schindler and Galka Scheyer, likely in Los Angeles.
These feel like gentle accounts of Cage’s comings and goings, less related or penetrating as other artist essays, but this seems rather appropriate for an artist that, much like Cage, was always subtle and refined in his tastes and style.
dAvid has in the attic
good for his worK.