The Sound Of One Hand Patting Itself On The Back

Just, wow. John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Louise Nevelson, and yet the sycophancy and superciliousness of this 1974 interview in SoHo by a couple of early Interview contributors is almost unwatchable. Almost. I just watched it again:

R. Couri Hay: My name is Couri Hay. Tonight Anton Perich and I are in SoHo, and we're very privileged and happy to be at Louise Nevelson's house where we've just had a fabulous extravaganza in black and white, a benefit. party for Merce Cunningham and his dance studio. We're gonna hear--talk tonight with John Cage, who has done much of the fabulous avant-garde music for Merce's work. And of course, in the middle, we have Louise Nevelson sculptress extraordinaire, and then, of course, Merce Cunningham, who I guess has been the star of the party.

Merce Cunningham: [laughing] Louise Nevelson has been the star of the party. Look at her! What more do you have to see?

Louise Nevelson: [talking over]

MC: What am I supposed to say, should I thank--

CH: No, no, just tell me: did you have a great time?

John Cage: [running interference] Everyone has been a star, we've had practically, what, 200 stars?

LN: We've had 200 stars, but some stars shine more than others.

And on it goes, for like 35 minutes. I listen to every Cage interview I can dig up, and I have never found one so content-free. I guess it's good to be reminded of the social context in which even the people you revere had to work.

[via artforum/video]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: August 10, 2008.

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