Article

In the Walker's expansive exhibition, "Merce Cunningham: Common Time," artistic disciplines effortlessly traverse conventional boundaries, in much the same ways the influential choreographer did with his many collaborative partners.
March 8, 2017

Merce Cunningham and company performing TV Rerun at Westbeth,    January 1975. Photo: Jack Mitchell. Copyright Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

When does a ragged leotard become a work of art? A silver mylar balloon? An inflated plastic box? A freestanding industrial floor fan? When they were created or re-contextualized by visual artists Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Bruce Nauman, respectively. Moreover, they become works of art as a costume or an element of décor created independently of, but for the sake of one of Merce Cunningham’s dances. Finally, they are elevated as such when they’re included as elements of the Walker Art Center’s celebration of the choreographer and his artistic collaborators, an exhibition titled Merce Cunningham: Common Time, on view in all seven galleries of the museum’s original Barnes building, through July 30.

During its 50+ year history with Cunningham, the Walker has hosted exhibitions focused on the choreographer’s work and his chance-oriented collaborations with iconic composers/musicians, visual artists, and costume designers: In Art Performs Life, with Cunningham sharing the stage with Meredith Monk and Bill T. Jones; and in the series Dance Works I: Merce Cunningham/Robert Rauschenberg, Dance Works II: Merce Cunningham/Ernesto Neto, and Dance Works III: Merce Cunningham/Rei Kawakubo. Of course, the Walker has long been a patron of Cunningham and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as well, culminating in the presentation of the often-called monumental Ocean on the floor of a quarry in Waite Park, MN, which was shot and subsequently turned into a film by another Cunningham collaborator, Charles Atlas.

But after Cunningham passed in 2009, the Walker acquired the choreographer’s entire archive: photographs, scores, costumes, sets, posters, props, décor, videos, and more items accumulated during Cunningham’s prodigious career. More than 4,000 objects from the Cunningham Dance Foundation are now in the Walker’s archive. And more than 60 of them on are view in Merce Cunningham: Common Time. These include an array of leotards and costumes in a variety of fabrics (wool? fur? How hot that must have been!), which might be exhibited adjacent to archival video of Cunningham and his main muse, Carolyn Brown, performing in that garb, or arrayed in a rainbow of hues (for the piece Second Hand) mimicking the color spectrum from violet to red created when the dancers lined up for their bows.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time, installation view. Photo: Gene Pittman. Courtesy of the Walker Art Center.

Warhol’s silver balloons? They were made for Rainforest and occupy their own room, where fans keep them aloft and visitors are invited to play. In the next gallery are Johns’s plastic boxes for Walkaround Time, (also previously exhibited at the Walker in its One Work series), which he painted and drew on in homage to Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even aka “The Large Glass.” (Duchamp was also a pal of Cunningham and his partner, composer John Cage.) The fans, loud and blowing down dead-end corridors beside a spare, stage-like set? Those are a bit from Nauman’s original décor for Tread, which included 10 such fans blowing onto the audience.

In this expansive exhibition, artistic disciplines effortlessly traverse conventional boundaries, just as Cunningham and his collaborators did. (The activity during this celebration is likewise not limited to the Walker Art Center’s galleries, which during the opening included daily performances by eight dancers in a work called Staging by Maria Hassabi, most notably on a raspberry-pink carpet. There are also Cunningham-like Events, performed by four former Cunningham dancers, in the galleries, and Cunningham-related performances at Northrop and the Cowles Center.) The Walker exhibition also includes rooms focusing on the sound scores and musical innovations of Cage, David Tudor, and other composers with whom the choreographer worked.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time, installation view. Photo: Gene Pittman. Courtesy of the Walker Art Center.

There are artful sketches of costume designs and a sculpture by Isamu Noguchi (a collaborator of Martha Graham’s, with whom Cunningham danced early in his career). There are vitrines with programs, sheet music, and Cage’s I Ching or Book of Changes. One gallery was “converted” into Cage and Cunningham’s Westbeth studio, replete with Warhol’s film Empire showing on one wall (the studio had views of the building). Another is a panopticon-like gallery of screens—Charles Atlas’ piece MC9, which immerses the visitor into a time machine of Cunningham dances at various times of life, in various places.

_______________________________

The quiet center of all of this activity is the body: Cunningham’s body, foremost, which gave rise to a choreographic aesthetic, methodology, and style that the choreographer paired—as an entity separate from and equal to any other discipline—with music, costumes, lighting, and décor.

_______________________________

Mark Lancaster’s sumptuous gold velour drapery for Sounddance, which CCN-Ballet de Lorraine recently performed at Northrop along with Fabrications, is on view. Elsewhere are notes from Cunningham on choreography with “spastic leaps + turn,” video of Cage drinking champagne and smoking while performing, several of Cunningham’s whimsical insect drawings. Life wasn’t always happening on stage or in the studio. Integral to making dances, obviously, was a great sense of fun.

The quiet center of all of this activity is the body: Cunningham’s body, foremost, which gave rise to a choreographic aesthetic, methodology, and style that the choreographer paired—as an entity separate from and equal to any other discipline—with music, costumes, lighting, and décor. All which would occupy the same space in the moments they came together, which Cunningham called “common time.”

Engaging in this exhibition also requires (or at least invites) the visitor to participate, to experience a sense of Cunningham’s common time, using their body and all their faculties. Hold, push, fling, gently kick those mylar balloons around; or, simply observe how they tend to escape their designated room. Sandwich yourself in between the high close walls of Nauman’s Green Light Corridor (Selfie Central in this exhibition). Walk beneath the white square opening of Robert Morris’s Portal. Encounter multiple Merces and myriad Cunningham dancers while wandering among the screens of Atlas’s MC9. Listen, look, feel. The exhibition is a sensory, kinetic experience.

Lisa Boudreau & Brandon Collwes, DIA Beacon # 1 (2007). Photo by Don Pollard, courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust, all rights restricted.

Cunningham’s kinetic body was the template on which he initially created his singular style of movement—often by disassembling his physiology into units, then tossing dice or the I Ching to determine in which direction the arm or leg would go, or which the shape the torso would make, then combining all of those perilous twists, extensions, curves, and hops into a breathtaking whole. This was taught to several generations of dancers, many of whom went on to create their own singular choreographic approaches and work.

Watching his dancers on the various screens throughout the exhibition, however, brings the fundamental, exquisite preeminence of the body in Cunningham’s work to the fore. Despite the excruciating detail and difficulty of the choreography, the dancers are supremely self-assured, without affectation or pretense. Their bodies, stripped of all identifying inflection, are whip-smart, lean, forthright; their movements clean, with the clarity of exactitude; their effort is imperceptible. They are modern in the purest sense.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time, installation view. Photo: Gene Pittman. Courtesy of the Walker Art Center.

Merce Cunningham: Common Time takes as its thesis the late choreographer and dancer’s influence on mainly the post-war visual artists, composers, and costume/set designers with whom Cunningham collaborated. In doing so, the exhibition brings Cunningham out of the dance “ghetto,” out of the calibration of disciplines that puts dance—and modern dance, in particular—on the lowest rung for resources including funding, coverage, education, critical appreciation, and understanding.

But the exhibition also raises a vexing question: Who has this kind of influence today? Who has the ego-less panache, the curiosity and knowledge of other artistic innovators, the connections, and the rigor and vigor to pursue an aesthetic orientation to multidisciplinary collaboration at the level that Cunningham did? Who now does so with the ability, as this exhibition argues, to change not only artistic process and practice but to alter and fundamentally influence the course of art history? While keeping dance—the neuroscience mystery connecting body and brain, the most ephemeral of art forms created with the finite interactions of nerve, muscle and bone—as the instigator? We may never know.

Noted exhibition details:

Merce Cunningham: Common Time is on view at the Walker Art Center from February 8 through July 30, 2017. Find additional information about related performances and events on the Walker’s website.

Camille LeFevre is a Twin Cities arts journalist.

Comments

halee:

I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again.

Baby Names==>http://babynames2017.com/

Usps Tracking==>http://uspstrackingmap.com/

Beyonce Net Worth==>http://beyoncenetworth.com/

apkku:

banyak developer game bermunculan di tahun 2017 baik itu developer luar negeri ataupun dalam negeri karna sekarang membuat game bukanlah hal yang sangat sulit karna informasi cara membuat game pun sudah banyak share jadi tinggal si yang garap  http://bjtongxing.com/daftar-game-android-terbaik-tahun-2017/ Daftar game 2017</a> yang menentukan pasar game apakah gamenya laku atau tidak . Dalam pemilihan game android terpopuler mencoba  http://zhengyiyanhang.com/2017/02/16/daftar-game-offline-android-terbaik... geme offline</a> dan kebanyak game offline itu membosankan karna lawan yang terlalu mudah atau gameplay nya hanya itu -itu saja tapi karna saya lagi baik hati makannya saya sudah siapkan game offline terbaik yang tentunya bakalan buat mu terhibur http://gasparyanjivan.com/2017/02/16/games-strategi-terbaik-di-android-2... game strategi di tahun 2017</a> tenang karna saya akan bocokan informasi game paling populer dan paling seru di tahun ini , penasaran ? ya pasti . Dalam jenis game ini, kamu harus dapat menyusun strategi yang tepat untuk dapat memenangkan permainan atau mengalahkan musuh yang ada. Salah perhitungan sedikit saja, dapat membuat kamu kalah telak Game ppsspp terbaik sebenarnya merupakan game yang menurut saya paling bagus jadi jangan salah paham ya kalau game dibawah ini bukanlah game terbaik menurut si pembuat psp tapi menurut admin . ada banyak sekali  http://nasirboushehr.com/2017/02/16/game-psp-ppsspp-terbaik-tahun-2017-d... game ppsspp</a> yang menurut ku seru dan saya menilai bukan hanya dari segi grafis tapi gamplay karna nyawa game terletak di gameplay bukan pada grafis walaupun kedua unsur tersebut merupakan unsur terpenting Di tahun 2017 ada ratusan aplikasi baru yang muncul semua memiliki fungsi yang berbeda-beda dan akan membantu mu dalam melakukan aktifitas atau bisa kamu gunakan untuk menghiasi android mu agar lebih terlihat keren dan canggih .  http://robertknepperfans.com/2017/02/16/aplikasi-android-terbaru-dan-ter... aplikasi 2017</a> sendiri di golongkan ada beberapa jenis seperti aplikasi editing yang merupakan aplikasi buat edit foto , video dan musik , lalu ada juga aplikasi tool yang berguna membantu aktifitasmu seperti aplikasi buat managemen keuangan , mempercantik hp dan masih banyak lagi .Tentang android sendiri, sudah dari awal perancangan telah terpasang pada perangkat mobile touchscreen seperti smartphone dan komputer tablet.Jadi Android adalah suatu sistem operasi yang berjalan pada smatphone saat ini dan menyesuaikan spesifikasi di kelas low-end hingga high-end.  http://robertknepperfans.com/ robertknepperfans</a> Hampir semua vendor saat ini mengembangkan produknya http://xboxpromocodes.com/  xboxpromocodes</a>.com dengan sistem operasi Android, karena peminatnya yang semakin meningkat tajam Android adalah sistem operasi berbasis kernel Linux  http://nasirboushehr.com/ nasirboushehr</a> yang pada awalnya dikembangkan oleh Android, Inc, yang didukung Google finansial dan kemudian dibeli pada tahun 2005 . Smartphone yang tersedia untuk publik pertama kalinya yang menjalankan Android adalah HTC Dream, yang dirilis pada 22 Oktober 2008, tentu anda yang belum tahu pasti menduga bahwa Samsung adalah smartphone android  http://gasparyanjivan.com gasparyanjivan</a>.com yang pertama kali keluar ntuk Aplikasi anda akan disajikan jutaan pilihan aplikasi yang menarik dari yang gratis hingga berbayar,  http://zhengyiyanhang.com/ zhengyiyanhang</a>.com dan anda bisa mendownloadnya di Google Play, siapa lagi kalau bukan miliknya ni sering terjadi jika anda menyalakan paket data dan menggunakan widget serta aplikasi http:// http://bjtongxing.com/ bjtongxing</a>.com/ yang berjalan secara berlebihan, untuk mengatasinya anda harus mengurangi aktivitas aplikasi pada smartphone anda

BMI CALCULATOR:

Thanks for the tips and guide. It is very useful tips.

bmi calculator

Zapyaforpc1:

This is really a good information. thanks for this kind of information. Download Zapya apk, zapya, zapya for pc, zapya free download, zapya download, Zapya app

Zapyaforpc1:

This is really a good information. thanks for this kind of information. Download Zapya apk, zapya, zapya for pc, zapya free download, zapya download, Zapya app

drivingdirections:

Thank you very much for a very useful article.

driving directions

funnynani:

linksare given here..

http://mobdro-app.com/

funnynani:

mobdro app details are given here..

just go through it..

mobdro

mobdro app

mobdro apk
mobdro download
mobdro tv

games for kids:

Let’s keeps out flash games for your child the best time relax: slither.io | happy wheels the game free | wings.io | games for kids are safe space for kids!

sapna:

there is a very good  types of ther dance which you can watch from here and this eill help you can get out of the stress a s well ....
 <a href="http://sapnadances.com/">who is sapna</a>
 <a href="http://sapnadances.com/sapna-chaudhary">Sapna chaudhary hot Dance</a>
 <a href="http://sapnadances.com/sapna-dance">Sapna Dance video </a> <a href="http://sapnadances.com/sapna-hot-image">Sapna hot picture</a>  <a href="http://sapnadances.com/sapna-dance-video-download">Sapna new video</a> <a href="http://sapnadances.com/haryanavi-song">sapna song</a> these are the place where you can find out th ebest dance and as well as the best video hope you guys enjoy this.

hoangphuc:

Khi ban can sua chua dieu hoa cac ban co the lien he ngay voi chung toi voi trung tam sua dieu hoa cua http://suadieuhoahongphuc.com phuc vu quy khach nhanh ra. Dich vu bao duong dieu hoa va sua dieu hoa chuyen nghiep chi co o Hong Phuc. Rat mong duoc phuc vu.

pasha:

thanks for sharing awesome post

Mykohlscharge |

Kohls Credit Card Login |

www.mykohlscharge.com

dlphucthinh:

banyak developer game bermunculan di tahun 2017 baik itu developer luar negeri ataupun dalam negeri karna sekarang membuat game bukanlah hal yang sangat sulit karna informasi cara membuat game pun sudah banyak share jadi tinggal si yang garap  http://bjtongxing.com/daftar-game-android-terbaik-tahun-2017/ Daftar game 2017 Trung tam bao hanh may nuoc nong centon

dlphucthinh:

Merce Cunningham: Common Time takes as its thesis the late choreographer and dancer’s influence on mainly the post-war visual artists, composers, and costume/set designers with whom Cunningham collaborated. In doing so, the exhibition brings Cunningham out of the dance “ghetto,” out of the calibration of disciplines that puts dance—and modern dance, in particular—on the lowest rung for resources including funding, coverage, education, critical appreciation, and understanding. bao hanh may nuoc nong electrolux

huynh032017:

I like this piece very much. Those still want to apply to my projects as follows: du an the park avenue and du an lakeview city quan 2

abboseo:

You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers.

popudownloads.com

 

rustam:

This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.

http://whatakeygens.com

MN Artists