He is better known as a founder of the Velvet Underground, and his Glastonbury performance this summer was described as "genuinely unhinged". Yesterday it was announced that John Cale will represent Wales at the most important showcase of contemporary art, the Venice Biennale.
Cale was born in the Carmarthenshire mining village of Garnant and after studying music at Goldsmiths College he travelled to New York, where he founded the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed. He went on to collaborate with artists such as Patti Smith, the Stooges and Happy Mondays, as well as having a solo career.
Cale said he was "surprised and honoured" to be invited to represent Wales. He added, intriguingly: "It offers an occasion to address certain pernicious issues in my background that had lain dormant for so long. There are certain experiences uniquely suited to the exorcism of mixed media and I am grateful for this opportunity to address them."
Cale's work will be a collaboration with artists, film-makers and poets. Communication and Cale's relationship with the Welsh language would be at the work's centre, the Arts Council of Wales said.
Alun Ffred Jones, heritage minister in the Welsh assembly, said: "John Cale is a bard in the widest sense - an artistic craftsman, whose work is firmly rooted in Wales's cultural history."
John Cale: interview at the National Gallery, London May 15th | Posted on Monday, April 20, 2009 4:27 PM
John Cale will be interviewed at the National Gallery, London on the 15 May 2009 as part of the Museums at Night weekend about his installation for the Venice Biennale.
In Conversation: John Cale | Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale is representing Wales at this year's Venice Biennale, where he will be showing a much-anticipated mixed-media installation. In this informal conversation, he will talk about his work for Venice and discuss the connections between art and music. With Colin Wiggins. (...)