Wednesday, the cool tech guys at the Norton Simon Museum were installing “Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel” by John Cage in the edgy little gallery off the main entry hall where edgy little exhibits are increasingly put on view by the cooler-than-before Pasadena museum.
From the museum: “In 1969, while he was the composer-in-residence at the University of Cincinnati, Cage was prompted by art patron Alice Weston to create his first visual artwork, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel. The year before, the art world lost one of the founding fathers of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp, who was both a friend to and an influence on Cage. At that same time, an uncited art publication solicited several artists, Cage among them, to do something to honor Duchamp. He and Jasper Johns, a fellow artist and friend, were discussing the publication’s request, and it was Johns who said, “I don’t want to say anything about Marcel.” Cage took this statement and used it for the title of his first venture into the visual art world. The Museum is pleased to spotlight this seminal work, Not Wanting to Say Anything About Marcel (1969), from September 24, 2010, to March 28, 2011.”
Duchamp has a history with Pasadena: His career retrospective of 1963 was presented by the Pasadena Art Museum, antecedent of the Simon. The prankster himself was there, in the current home of the Pacific Asia Museum on Los Robles, as were Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Robert Irwin.