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5/2/1999 - 4/4/1999

Merce Cunningham

This exhibition celebrated the past fifty years of Merce Cunningham’s career, from his role as principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company, to the formation of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Black Mountain College in 1953; from his use of “chance operations” to his present, innovative work with the computer program, LifeForms.

The exhibition featured examples of Cunningham’s coreographic notes, as well as scores, and set and costume designs by the artists whith whom he has collaborated over the years, including John Cage, Jasper Johns, Isamu Noguchi, Mark Lancaster, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, among others.

Cunningham is not only a dance maverick. His innovative ideas developed with John Cage regarding the coexistence and interdependece of the visual arts, have had a ground-breaking influence on all the arts and the creative process in general. This concept makes way for collaborations in which no element is illustrative of another, but where each happens simultaneously in time and space. Cunningham and Cage also piooneered the use of “chance operations”, pieces in which chance becomes the driving force behind the choreography as part of a working process that allowed artists to get beyond their preconceptions.