With 4’33” Cage paved the way for works such as Young’s Composition 1960 pieces, which provide one of the basic foundations for the idea to serve as the artwork by itself, with no unnecessary embellishments. Central to Young’s work is the concept of “stasis,” as opposed to “Fluxus.” “Change or flux is inevitable,” Young wrote. “Stasis, or remaining the same, is impossible. Therefore, to achieve the static state is the goal, while the state of flux, variation, or contrast, is unavoidable and thus unnecessary as a goal.” Later, Composition 1960 pieces appeared alongside works by other artists in An Anthology (1963), edited by Young, a publication characterized as “chance operations, concept art, anti art, indeterminacy, . . . improvisation, meaningless work,” and “natural disasters.” In 1960 and 1961, together with Yoko Ono, Young organized a series of events at Ono’s loft on Chambers Street that had a germinative effect on the formation of Fluxus.
Gallery label from There Will Never Be Silence: Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, October 12, 2013–June 22, 2014.
While serving as the musical director of Anna Halprin’s summer workshop in 1960, the composer La Monte Young presented his whimsical event scores: texts that instruct performers to build on simple actions and reframe them as art. For example, in Composition 1960 #2 performers are asked to build a fire, and in Composition 1960 #5 they are told to turn butterflies loose. Young opened his compositions to interpretation and variation, inviting other artists to perform them. Scores based on simple instructions would prove important to Simone Forti and other performancemakers living in downtown New York City, where Young would move in the fall of 1960.
Gallery label from Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done, 2018