JacksonMac Low

Biography

Jackson Mac Low (1922 Chicago, Illinois, USA – 2004 New York City, New York, USA) was an American performance artist, composer, poet, and playwright. Working initially as a recognized etymologist and editor, he soon developed an interest in the possibilities offered by words as units of sound and meaning. Mac Low's works explore the intersections of language, structure, and music by systematically blending and muting found and fragmented texts. In particular, the works produced between 1954 and 1980, such as 5 Biblical Poems (1954), followed what Mac Low himself described as a “nonintentional” method: Words and lines are arbitrarily rearranged, inspired by systematic chance operations, indeterminacy, and simultaneities. An early member of the Fluxus movement, Mac Low was active in the events and performances organized by George Maciunas at his AG Gallery, as well as in Charlotte Moorman’s New York Avant Garde Festivals. Mac Low and his wife Anne Tardos worked closely with John Cage on multiple occasions, collaborating on works such as the “John Cage Symposium.” With La Monte Young, Mac Low co-edited the notorious Anthology of Chance Operations (1963). In total, Mac Low published more than two dozen volumes of poetry, including Twin Plays (New York: Something Else Press, 1966), Asymmetries 1-260 (New York: Printed Editions, 1980), and 20 Forties (La Laguna, Tenerife: Zasterle Press, 1999), beyond being featured in more than ninety anthologies. His prolific body of work has been read publicly, exhibited, performed, and broadcast internationally. Among the prestigious awards received are a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1985 and a New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship in 1988.

Artworks (4)