PillowTalk: The Art of Merce Cunningham, 2009-07-22Additional title: Art of Merce Cunningham
NamesCunningham, Merce (Creator)Vaughan, David, 1924- (Panelist)Thompson, Joseph, 1958- (Panelist)Keefe, Maura (Moderator)
Merce Cunningham Video Archive
Dates / OriginDate Created: 2009-07-22
Library locationsJerome Robbins Dance DivisionShelf locator: *MGZIDF 3736
TopicsCunningham, MerceDance -- United States -- HistoryModern danceRauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008Cage, John
NotesStatement of responsibility: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Archives.Content: Title provided by cataloger, based on original container labelVenue: Recorded 2009, 22 July. The Berkshires, Massachusetts.Acquisition: Gift; Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, 2011-2012.
Physical DescriptionVideodiscExtent: 1 videodisc (DVD) (58 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
DescriptionA 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 ResourceMoving image
IdentifiersRLIN/OCLC: 922889500NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20809319Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 6a19d200-a9ae-0133-5b18-60f81dd2b63c
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