“Walker Art Center and Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago copresent Merce Cunningham: Common Time, a major survey organized by the Walker that investigates Merce Cunningham’s groundbreaking practice and multidisciplinary collaborations that revolutionized dance in the 20th century and continue to influence generations of artists, composers, and choreographers.
Merce Cunningham: Common Time is the first survey exhibition to measure the late choreographer and dancer’s indelible impact on generations of artists. The exhibition presents an unparalleled emphasis on the cross-disciplinary collaborations between the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC) and leading post-war artists who created original compositions, costumes, lighting, and set designs for the company. The exhibition takes as its starting point the notion of “common time,” described by Cunningham as the “underlying principle that music and dance and art could be separate entities independent and interdependent, sharing a common time.” This co-existent relationship of the arts, exemplified by Cunningham’s lifelong collaborations with composer John Cage, serves as the foundation for a career that exemplified and fostered this shared philosophy.” — Walker Art Center
Barbara Morgan. Merce Cunningham in Root of an Unfocus, 1944. Collection UCLA Library Special Collections Barbara and Willard Morgan Archives
Merce Cunningham and Carolyn Brown in Summerspace (1958), November 1964. Sogetsu Art Center. Courtesy Sogetsu Foundation
Merce Cunningham Dance Company performing Museum Event No. 2 and No. 3. Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden September 8-14, 1964. Courtesy Moderna Museet Archives
Merce Cunningham and Carolyn Brown performing in Cunningham’s Ballet Variations V at the Norddeuscher Runfunk TV studios in Hamburg, 1966.
Merce Cunningham and John Cage with Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Bus trip, Paris to Hamburg 1966 ©Hervé Gloaguen/ Rapho, courtesy Gamma-Rapho
Poster with John Cage and Merce Cunningham Dance Company travelling trunk at Fondation Maeght, Sant Paul de Vence, France, July 1970. Photo: James Klosty, courtesy of the photographer
Merce Cunningham rehearsing How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music 1970. Photo: James Kosty, courtesy of the photographer
Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Canfield, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York,1970. Photo: James Klosty, courtesy of the photographer
Merce Cunningham Dance Company in Canfield, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York, 1970. Photo: James Klosty, courtesy of the photographer
Merce Cunningham with dancers at Westbeth 1971. Photo: James Klosty, courtesy of the photographer
Merce Cunningham and company performing TV Rerun at Westbeth January 1975. Photo: Jack Mitchell ©Jack Mitchell/Getty Images
Merce Cunningham and company performing TV Rerun at Westbeth in January 1975. Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images
Merce Cunningham Dance Company performing Event for the Garden. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, September 12, 1998. Walker Art Center Archives
Installation view of Dance Works I: Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg (2011). Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2011. Photo: Gene Pittman
The Walker-organized exhibition will premiere February 8, 2017 at the Walker and February 11, 2017 at the MCA Chicago with three performance commissions. Organized by Fionn Meade, Walker Art Center Artistic Director, with Philip Bither, Joan Rothfuss and Mary Coyne. Lynne Warren is the organizing curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Images courtesy Walker Art Center.