Dancing around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through January 21, 2013.
Stratoz and I took a trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum, and saw the Dancing around the Bride exhibit, about 4 artists who enjoyed working with each other, inspiring each other and playing with their art forms of music, dance and visual art. I was intrigued by the room of art inspired by chess, and the John Cage work made of bits of music notation in a light-dark chess pattern. Reading the tag, I discovered that for many years the general assumption was that the music was not “playable” but purely visual, but pianist Margaret Leng Tan transcribed it into a score. She deciphered the original scraps of paper, like making an aural collage, or cryptography of assumptions.
Margaret Leng Tan is originally from Singapore and came to the Juilliard School in her teens and was the first woman to earn a doctorate there in 1971. She collaborated with John Cage for many years, as well as becoming rapt with toy pianos, and transforms them into full musical expression. I remember the toy piano I had as a child, in a vivid blue, and how it was within my grasp, the right size for my reach. Here is a video of her playing Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles on a toy piano: