Walker Art Center Rachel Joyce 612.375.7635 Rachel.Joyce@walkerart.org
Museum Contemporary Art Chicago Karla Loring 312.397.3834 firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue Medium, Inc. Andy Ptaschinski 212.675.1800 email@example.com
The Walker Art Center and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago are pleased to announce Merce Cunningham: Common Time, a major survey organized by the Walker that investigates Merce Cunningham’s groundbreaking practice and multidisciplinary collaborations that revolutionized choreography in the 20th century and continues to influence generations of artists, composers, and choreographers. The exhibition will premiere February 8-9, 2017 at the Walker and February 11-12, 2017 at the MCA, with performances by international touring companies and former Merce Cunningham Dance Company dancers.
Organized by Fionn Meade, Walker Art Center Artistic Director, with Philip Bither, Director and Senior Curator of Performing Arts, in collaboration with curators from MCA, this exhibition embodies both institutions’ dedication to cross-disciplinary programming and artistic practice. The core of the exhibition will be drawn from the Walker’s Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) collection, acquired in 2011, featuring sets, sculptural props, and costumes by Jasper Johns, Rei Kawakubo, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Ernesto Neto, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and many others. The MCDC Collection will be accompanied by the presentation of significant artworks that illuminate the contemporaneous practice of these artists and the concentric impact of Merce Cunningham’s collaborative engagement with pivotal art movements and transformational moments of artistic reinvention across more than six decades of creation.
Merce Cunningham: Common Time will be organized in key thematic sections that refer directly to compositional principles and frameworks active within Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage’s collaborative approach. These sections will explore the key influences upon Cunningham’s early career, from Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes to Northwest Coast American Indian symbolism; Cunningham’s use of chance procedures in his choreographic process; the evolving role of technology in his work; his exploration of mimesis within nature; as well as the impact of his company’s global travel and truly international cultural exchange, which includes the company’s early 1964 tour to 30 cities in 13 countries, including India, Japan, and Sweden. In addition, the exhibition will consider Cunningham’s influence on, role in, and dialogue with the pivotal historic movements of Fluxus, the Judson Dance Theater, and Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). The cross-disciplinary exchange between MCDC and an entire generation of visual artists via Cunningham’s “cooperation of interdependency” will be brought to the fore by presenting a multilayered synchronicity across artistic disciplines that opened up a new interdisciplinary landscape. Common Time will examine pivotal moments in the careers of Cunningham collaborators, including significant works from the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Bruce Nauman, Robert Morris and Nam June Paik, featuring major works made at the time of collaboration with the MCDC.