PillowTalk: The Art of Merce Cunningham, 2009-07-22

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PillowTalk: The Art of Merce Cunningham, 2009-07-22

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PillowTalk: The Art of Merce Cunningham, 2009-07-22
Additional title: Art of Merce Cunningham
Cunningham, Merce (Creator)
Vaughan, David, 1924- (Panelist)
Thompson, Joseph, 1958- (Panelist)
Keefe, Maura (Moderator)

Merce Cunningham Video Archive

Dates / Origin
Date Created: 2009-07-22
Library locations
Jerome Robbins Dance Division
Shelf locator: *MGZIDF 3736
Cunningham, Merce
Dance -- United States -- History
Modern dance
Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008
Cage, John
Panel discussions
Statement of responsibility: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Archives.
Content: Title provided by cataloger, based on original container label
Venue: Recorded 2009, 22 July. The Berkshires, Massachusetts.
Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Physical Description
Extent: 1 videodisc (DVD) (58 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
A panel given as part of a season-long celebration of Merce Cunningham at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts. Notably, this panel took place four days before Cunningham's death. Moderated by dance historian and Jacob's Pillow scholar-in-residence Maura Keefe, the panel consists of Merce Cunningham Dance Company archivist David Vaughan and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MOCA) executive director Joseph C. Thompson. The conversation begins with Vaughan's discussion of the reasons he was first drawn, in the early 1950s, to Cunningham's work and his initial reactions to those early pieces. (4:00) Joseph Thompson then speaks about coming to the realization that a museum could be a place which valued live performance art, as well as static visual art; "a museum of ALL contemporary art." (8:30) David Vaughan then talks about Cunningham and John Cage's pioneering collaborative efforts at the experimental Black Mountain College, located in Asheville, NC, during the late 1940s and early 1950s. (11:00) Thompson then uses a contemporary anecdote involving artists Robert Rauschenberg and Willem de Kooning to illustrate the shifts taking place in the art world at the time, in particular as they influenced the creative work done at Black Mountain. (16:30) Vaughan then segues into a consideration of Cunningham and Cage's lesser-known history as visual artists and the ways in which those experiences aided them in collaborating with artists such as Rauschenberg who had primarily made their careers in visual art. (20:00) This leads to a consideration of Rauschenberg's longstanding contributions to the work of the Cunningham company, beginning with his 1954 appointment as resident designer, and of Cunningham's methods of working with him. (22:15) Following Rauschenberg's tenure, artist Jasper Johns became the company's artistic advisor in 1967, and began enlisting prominent artists including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Bruce Nauman and Robert Morris to design the settings (decor) for choreographic pieces. The panelists examine the impact of Johns' outreach on the design and performance aesthetic, as well as the fundraising efforts, of the Cunningham corps. (28:30) This transitions into a conversation about the unique role today's museums can play in fostering projects which fuse dance and visual art (38:15), leading directly into a discussion of Cunningham's 1999 piece BIPED, which utilizes a decor, designed by Shelley Eshkar and Paul Kaiser using motion capture, that is entirely computer-generated and projected onto the stage at each performance. (42:00) Following this, the panel proper concludes and a brief Q&A portion begins. The first questioner asks the panel to further explicate Merce Cunningham's relationship with technology, the ways in which he sees it as an aid to creativity, rather than as something existing apart from and in opposition to the world of art. (46:00) As the closing topic, David Vaughan explains Cunningham's relatively recent foray into drawing, and its connection to the importance of nature as a motif and source of inspiration for his choreographic work. (49:10)
Type of Resource
Moving image
RLIN/OCLC: 922889500
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20809319
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 6a19d200-a9ae-0133-5b18-60f81dd2b63c
Rights Statement
This item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Item timeline of events

  • 2009: Created
  • 2022: Found by you!
  • 2023

MLA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "PillowTalk" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 2009. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/761e82e0-a9ae-0133-d775-60f81dd2b63c

Chicago/Turabian Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "PillowTalk" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed August 9, 2022. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/761e82e0-a9ae-0133-d775-60f81dd2b63c

APA Format

Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. (2009). PillowTalk Retrieved from https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/761e82e0-a9ae-0133-d775-60f81dd2b63c

Wikipedia Citation

<ref name=NYPL>{{cite web | url=https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/761e82e0-a9ae-0133-d775-60f81dd2b63c | title= (moving image) PillowTalk, (2009)|author=Digital Collections, The New York Public Library |accessdate=August 9, 2022 |publisher=The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations}}</ref>