Dick Higgins. Graphis No. 2 (or possibly No. 23). c. 1958–59

Dick Higgins Graphis No. 2 (or possibly No. 23) c. 1958–59

  • Not on view

Higgins’s Graphis series is a hauntingly beautiful, enigmatic body of work. Taking inspiration from Cage, with whom he studied, and from others who used unconventional notations for musical scores, Higgins developed the idea for the works to act as “unsemantic, even choreographic” scripts for theater, beginning in fall 1958. These “plays” did not specify “what was to be said” but instead are graphic notations that are to be treated as plans of action. As Higgins wrote in 1961:

All of the series is used to provide movements and sounds which can be produced by or with the human body. No external mechanizations are to be employed except for illumination purposes. All markings on the face of the notation are to be considered as notation, and all elements of these markings are to be used or deliberately ignored for the production of movements and sounds according to any consistent system which the individual performer devises for the notation he is using.

Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.
Medium
Pencil on paper
Dimensions
8 3/8 x 10 13/16" (21.2 x 27.5 cm)
Credit
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift
Object number
2238.2008
Copyright
© 2021 Dick Higgins
Department
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].