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Three-Ring Museum

Asked what impact Rolywholyover will have on future exhibitions, Lazar is confident that it may open doors for curators, giving them permission to take risks not only in terms of the current trend of mixing collections, but also to break ground in mixing ideas together.

More importantly, Lazar welcomes the fact that the show infuriated some people in L.A., raising the hackles of cultural purists in its blend of high and low objects. "Some of our board members at MOCA who had given a portion of their collections thought it was a disrespectful way to exhibit the work, since it's handled and moved frequently. I respect those concerns. But in truth what they are saying was, "You're putting my precious work on an equal level with a lot of things that aren't." It might seem irresponsible, but, in fact, it might be more responsible because it frees the work of his idea, my idea, her idea. It frees the work to be itself. I like the notion that attention is drawn away from me. I like the fact that there's such a multifarious realm of activity going on, that a performance is happening all the time. A theatrical piece is happening constantly in a static art situation."

To her credit, Lazar has produced an enriching, unforgettable exhibition that may serve to galvanize its hosting institutions and communities. After the Menil, the exhibition goes on to the Guggenheim in New York, Japan's Mito Contemporary Art Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The respective staff members and various personnel must commit to the daily process of chance operations and programmed activities. Rarely these days do we witness a show of such intelligence and efficiency. Much of the exhibition, for example, is recyclable. All of the walls, files and bookcases constructed for the show will be reusable at the end of the tour. The so-called "Citycircus," which runs concurrently with the Menil showing, ensures that more than a dozen arts and educational organizations throughout Houston will sponsor Cage-related events. The catalog, really a mirror-surfaced metal box la Duchamp that contains reams of loose items -- images on parchment paper, letters, essays, even Cage's cooking recipes -- is a fitting memorial to a free spirit and inventive mastermind seminal in early post-Modernist culture.

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