“I have come to the conclusion that much can be learned about music by devoting oneself to the mushroom.”

– John Cage, 1954


John Cage (1912-92) was a 20th-century American composer, artist, Zen Buddhist practitioner, and mycologist. He was a pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and a leading figure of the postwar avant-garde.


Cage foraging at Stony Point, New York, 13 July, 1967.


John Cage: A Mycological Foray is split into two beautifully crafted books. “Indeterminacy Stories and other writings by Cage are interwoven throughout the first volume within a central essay examining Cage’s enduring relationship with mycology.” (text from here) The first book also includes a transcript of Cage’s 1983 spoken word performance, MUSHROOMS et Variationes.


Volume II offers the inaugural reproduction of Cage’s 1972 portfolio, Mushroom Book; authored in collaboration with illustrator Lois Long and botanist Alexander H. Smith.



Below, Funga has added some scans of illustrations that have been included in the book. It is a spectacular compilation, and I highly recommend any lover of mushrooms to add A Mycological Foray to their collection.