The Mushroom Book, no. 10 of ten artist proofs, each print is signed and numbered by the respective artist, Cage or Long
By Cage, John, Long, Lois, and Smith, Alexander
Pp. 34 leaves + 10 hand-colored lithographs + 10 lithographs plates of superimpositions of handwriting by Long. Housed loose-leaf, as issued, in a dark-blue denim-covered portfolio with a cloth tie closure, lg folio (560x380 mm; 22x15 inches). This book is unique among Cage’s works for combining two of his interests, the role of chance in creating art and mushrooms. Cage co-founded the New York Mycological Society in 1962 with several friends including Lois Long, the other artist. Alexander H. Smith, a prominent expert in mycology, was the final collaborator on this book. This volume consists of ten folios of deckled Arches paper and ten sheets of translucent Japanese Kitakata which are tucked inside each folio. On the first page of each folio is a lithograph featuring Cage’s handwritten poetry, maps, and sketches using superimpositions of five graded black lithographic pencils. Cage used the Chinese I Ching system of chance operations to determine the visual presentation of the writing in these lithographs. The inserted translucent sheets within each folio feature transcriptions of Cage’s lithographs and scientific information written by Smith about the mushrooms. The third page of each folio is Long’s larger than life, color lithographic illustrations of the mushrooms. This volume features 15 different species of mushrooms. This work was the focus of an exhibition of Cage’s work at the Horticultural Society of New York in 2014 entitled By Leaves or Play of Sunlight, John Cage: Artist and Naturalist. Copies of the book are held in a wide variety of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (modified after Boreas Fine Art 2018). This copy is numbered A.P. X and is one of the ten artist proofs in the total edition of 90 copies. Each print by Cage and Long is signed and numbered in pencil by the respective artist. This is copy is from the private collection of Alexander H. Smith.
|Publisher Place||New York|
|Date Published Estimated||No|
|Number of Volumes||1|
|Condition Description||A fine copy.|