Visible Deeds of Music: Art and Music from Wagner to Cage
This thoughtful and provocative book explores the relationship between music and the visual arts in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the modernist period. Reassessing the work of composers and artists such as Richard Wagner, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Josef Matthias Hauer, and John Cage, Simon Shaw-Miller argues that despite modernism's advocacy of media purity and separation, the boundaries between art and music were permeable at this time, as they have been throughout history.Shaw-Miller begins by discussing the place of Wagner's music and ideas at the time of the birth of modernism, presenting Wagner's aesthetic of the Gesamtkunstwerk as an alternative paradigm for modernist art. He goes on to analyze Picasso's use of musical subjects in his cubist works and Klee's adoption of music and the issue of temporality in his paintings and drawings. He concludes with the radical aesthetic of Cage, the silencing of sound, and the promotion of intermediality in the work of Fluxus artists. Through these fascinating examples, Shaw-Miller raises questions about both art and music history that will be of interest to students of both disciplines.
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