John Cage: A Mycological Foray: Variations on Mushrooms
Imagined as an extended mushroom-foraging expedition, John Cage: A Mycological Foray gathers together Cage’s mushroom-themed compositions, photographs, illustrations and ephemera. Indeterminacy Stories and other writings by Cage are interwoven throughout the first volume within a central essay examining Cage’s enduring relationship with mycology. Also included is a transcript of Cage’s 1983 performance, MUSHROOMS et Variationes. The second volume is the inaugural reproduction of Cage’s 1972 portfolio, Mushroom Book, authored in collaboration with illustrator Lois Long and botanist Alexander H. Smith. Readers are thus drawn through the landscape of Cage’s mycologically centred oeuvre and interests, discovering assorted works, images, compositions, philosophies and ephemera, as one might encounter assorted fungi and flora while foraging.
John Cage: A Mycological Foray constitutes a new, idiosyncratic chapter in Cage’s oeuvre, a departure from the composer’s more established narrative.
July 21, 2020. Illustrated edition. Two paperback volumes in slipcase.
An omnibus of his mushroom-themed writings [...] Ever attuned to the music hidden in silence, he insisted that we should learn to listen to mushrooms as they released their spores to the air. (Ligaya Mishan T Magazine)
Cage’s brief brush with mainstream celebrity is recounted in John Cage: A Mycological Foray, an elegant art book that delves deep into the composer’s lifelong fascination with mushrooms [...]It is illustrated by photographs of Cage foraging; diary entries, notebooks and essay excerpts related to his passion as well as an often surreal selection of his vast collection of fungi-related ephemera – postcards, collages and various well-thumbed guidebooks on the identification of mushroom species. [...]Put simply, for Cage, music was music and mushrooms were mushrooms. (Sean O'Hagan Guardian)
A stunning new book about Cage’s mycology titled A Mycological Foray [shows the] serendipity involved in mushroom foraging, requiring both acceptance of chance and attentiveness to it, echoed Cage’s use of chance as a compositional technique. Contradicting avant-garde self-importance, Cage proposed that music and mushrooms were equivalent, and whether one chose fungi or sound, what mattered was the act of foraging. (Jonathon Keats Forbes)
Enchanting and idiosyncratic, A Mycological Foray is a tribute to the enigmatic composer John Cage and the magical nature of fungi. (Frank Brasile Shelf Awareness)