Accompanying the exhibition, CAGE NAM JUNE: A Multimedia Friendship, ZONE: Chelsea Center for the Arts presents a Panel Discussion with four people who knew and worked with Cage and Paik.



the Fluxus artist Alison Knowles

vocalist/composer Joan La Barbara

dancer and dance historian David Vaughan

writer and critic William S. Wilson

curator Kenneth Silverman

Thursday, October 19th, 2006


ALISON KNOWLES was born in New York City. She works in the field of visual art, making performances, sound works and radio shows (Hoerspiele). She attended Scarsdale High School, Middlebury College and graduated with an honors degree in Fine Art from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She married the Fluxus artist Dick Higgins and worked for the Something Else Press doing special editions by silkscreen, engaged in events with the Fluxus group and birthed twin daughters Hannah B and Jessica in 1964. Her installation The Big Book was made in New York, and toured in Canada and Europe, collapsing in California in the mid-seventies. For three years she was Associate Professor of Art at California Institute of the Arts in the department of Alan Kaprow. Her computer instigated dwelling The House Of Dust is located in California as a permanent installation. During the late seventies and eighties she extended her studio to include a shop in Barrytown, New York, a stone’s throw from the Hudson River. During the eighties she has worked in Italy and Germany and Japan doing multiples, unique pieces and radio plays. Her second walk-in book The Book Of Bean from 1983 appeared in Venice. Her most recent exhibitions include “Um-Laut” in Koln and “Indigo Island” in Warsaw. She maintains a studio at 122 Spring St. in New York.


DAVID VAUGHAN was born in London and educated at Oxford University. He studied ballet with Marie Rambert and Audrey de Vos. In 1950 he continued his studies at the School of American Ballet, later studying with Antony Tudor, Richard Thomas, and Merce Cunningham. He has worked as a dancer, actor, singer, and choreographer, on film and television, in ballet and modern dance companies, and in cabaret. He is associate editor of Ballet Review and the Encyclopaedia of Dance and Ballet. He is the author of Frederick Ashton and His Ballets and the forthcoming Merce Cunningham: 50 Years, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship; and he has contributed to Dancers on a Plane: Cage, Cunningham, Johns and to Ornella Volta’s Satie et Ia danse. He has been associated with Merce Cunningham Dance Company since 1959, as archivist since 1976. He has taught dance history and criticism at New York University, the State University of New York/College at Purchase, the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, the University of Chicago Dance History Seminar, and the American Dance Festival Critics’ Conference. In 1986 he was Regents’ Lecturer at the University of California.


JOAN LA BARBARA was born in Philadelphia, PA. Educated at Syracuse and New York Universities and Tanglewood/Berkshire Music Center, studying voice with Helen Boatwright, Phyllis Curtin and Marian Szekely-Freschl, she learned her compositional tools as an apprentice with the numerous composers with whom she has worked for three decades. Her career as a composer/performer/soundartist explores the human voice as a multi-faceted instrument expanding traditional boundaries, creating works for multiple voices, chamber ensembles, music theater, orchestra and interactive technology, developing a unique vocabulary of experimental and extended vocal techniques: multiphonics, circular singing, ululation and glottal clicks that have become her “signature sounds”, garnering awards in the U.S. and Europe. La Barbara has collaborated with artists including Lita Albuquerque, Cathey Billian, Melody Sumner Carnahan, Judy Chicago, Ed Emshwiller, Kenneth Goldsmith, Peter Gordon, Bruce Nauman, Steina, Woody Vasulka and Lawrence Weiner. In the early part of her career, she performed and recorded with Steve Reich, Philip Glass and jazz artists Jim Hall, Hubert Laws, Enrico Rava and arranger Don Sebesky, developing her own unique vocal/instrumental sound. In addition to the internationally-acclaimed “Three Voices for Joan La Barbara by Morton Feldman” “Joan La Barbara Singing through John Cage” and “Joan La Barbara/Sound Paintings”, she has recorded for A&M Horizon, Centaur, Deutsche Grammophon, Elektra-Nonesuch, Mode, Music & Arts, MusicMasters, Musical Heritage, Newport Classic, New World, Sony, Virgin, Voyager and Wergo. Recording projects as singer and/or producer include “Only: Works for Voice and Instruments” by Morton Feldman”; “Rothko Chapel/Why Patterns”, “John Cage at Summerstage with Joan La Barbara, Leonard Stein and William Winant”, Cage’s final concert performance on July 23, 1992 in NYC’s Central Park. La Barbara was Artistic Director of the Carnegie Hall series, “When Morty met John”, celebrating the music of John Cage and Morton Feldman and The New York School; is Artistic Director, Curator and Host of “Insights”, a new series of encounters with distinguished composers, for The American Music Center; and co-produces the “EMF 10” concert series in New York City. Joan La Barbara is a member of SAG, AFTRA, AEA, The American Music Center, and is a composer and publisher member of ASCAP.


WILLIAM S. WILSON, who was graduated with a Ph.D. from Yale University, has taught the writing of fiction at Queens College and the Graduate Writing Division of Columbia University. Author of a book of short stories, Why I don’t write like Franz Kafka, he has been writing essays about visual art since 1964. Nam June Paik lived in a studio in his house during1964-65. He has given talks about Eva Hesse in Paris, London, San Francisco and New York.


Kenneth Silverman – Curator Kenneth Silverman is Professor Emeritus of English at New York University. His books include Timothy Dwight; A Cultural History of the American Revolution; The Life and Times of Cotton Mathe; Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance; HOUDINI!!!.; and Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has received the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America, and the Christopher Literary Award of the Society of American Magicians. Currently he is writing a biography of John Cage.


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