Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done at The Museum of Modern Art, September 16, 2018 – February 03, 2019

Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done is a major exhibition that will look anew at the unique moment in the 1960s when a group of choreographers, visual artists, composers, and filmmakers made use of a local church to present groundbreaking cross-disciplinary performances. With a gallery exhibition, a print publication, and an ambitious performance program in the Museum’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, The Work Is Never Done will feature celebrated dance works from the 1960s and ’70s by Judson artists. The exhibition will highlight the group’s ethos of collaboration and the range of its participants through live performance and some 300 objects including film, photographic documentation, sculptural objects, scores, music, and archival material.

Titled after a phrase used by choreographer Steve Paxton, The Work Is Never Done reflects both the Judson group’s spirit of experimentation and inquiry and the ongoing importance of their work today. The exhibition will begin with the workshops in which many of its artists participated— including Anna Halprin’s improvisation classes in Northern California and pianist Robert Ellis Dunn’s teaching sessions, based on his work with composer John Cage at the studio of his collaborator and partner, choreographer Merce Cunningham. Placing Judson within New York’s burgeoning Downtown cultural scene—from free jazz to community protests against real estate speculators—the exhibition also examines the influence of figures such as Simone Forti and Andy Warhol, as well as venues for collective action like Judson Gallery, the Living Theater, and others.” — MoMA

Anna Halprin. The Branch. 1957. Performed on the Halprin family’s Dance Deck, Kentfield, California, 1957. Performers, from left: A. A. Leath, Anna Halprin, and Simone Forti. Photo: Warner Jepson. Courtesy of the Estate of Warner Jepson

Peter Moore’s photograph of Trisha Brown and Steve Paxton in Trisha Brown’s Lightfall, 1963. Performed at Concert of Dance #4, Judson Memorial Church, New York, January 30, 1963. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Peter Moore’s photograph of Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, and Yvonne Rainer performing Hay’s Would They or Wouldn’t They?, 1963. Performed at Concert of Dance #13, Judson Memorial Church, New York, November 20, 1963. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Al Giese’s photograph of Yvonne Rainer’s “Bach” from Terrain, 1963. Performed at Judson Memorial Church, New York, April 28, 1963. © Estate of Al Giese/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Al Giese’s photograph of Ruth Emerson in Carolee Schneemann’s Newspaper Event, 1963. Performed at Concert of Dance #3, Judson Memorial Church, New York, January 29, 1963. © Estate of Al Giese/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy of Carolee Schneemann, Galerie Lelong & Co., and P•P•O•W, New York

Al Giese’s photograph of Rudy Perez, Elaine Summers, and John Worden performing Summers’s SUITE, 1963. Performed at Concert of Dance #3, Judson Memorial Church, New York, January 29, 1963. © Estate of Al Giese/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Peter Moore’s photograph of (from left) Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph Schlichter (hidden), Sally Gross, Tony Holder, Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer, Alex Hay, Robert Morris (behind), and Lucinda Childs performing Rainer’s We Shall Run, 1963. Performed at Two Evenings of Dances by Yvonne Rainer, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, March 7, 1965. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Deborah Hay. Still from Group I, 1968. Filmed by Robert Rauschenberg. © Deborah Hay

Deborah Hay. Still from Group II, 1969. Filmed by Hollis Frampton. © Deborah Hay

Peter Moore’s photograph of David Gordon in Mannequin Dance, 1962. Performed in Dance Concert of Old and New Works by David Gordon, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Judson Memorial Church, January 10, 1966. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA at ARS, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Babette Mangolte’s photograph of David Gordon, Valda Setterfield, and unidentified performers in The Matter, 1972. Performed at Merce Cunningham Studio, New York, 1972. © Babette Mangolte

Peter Moore’s photograph of Lucinda Childs in Pastime, 1963. Performed in Surplus Dance Theater: Program Exchange, New York, March 2, 1964. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA at ARS, NY. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Trisha Brown. Still from Walking on the Wall, 1971. Film by Elaine Summers. © Trisha Brown Dance Company

Andy Warhol. Jill and Freddy Dancing. 1963. 16mm film (black and white, silent), 4 min. Original film elements preserved by The Museum of Modern Art Collections of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Simone Forti. Huddle. 1961. Performance. 10 min. Committee on Media and Performance Art Funds. © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Performed in Performance 2: Simone Forti, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 7–8, 2009. Digital image © 2018 Yi-Chun Wu/The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Performance view of Yoshiko Chuma + Jodi Melnick Workshop, Judson Memorial Church, January 22, 2018. Still image of video by Quentin Burley

Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done is organized by Ana Janevski, Curator, and Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator, with Martha Joseph, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art. 

Images courtesy The Museum of Modern Art.