Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-09-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DANCIN' FEATS Immersed in Merce at the MCA
by Lauren Warnecke
2017-02-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Through April 30, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago ( MCA ) highlights the life and work of an iconic U.S. choreographer: Merce Cunningham ( 1919-2009 ).

The "Common Time" exhibit is presented in partnership with Minnesota's Walker Art Center, which opened a simultaneous exhibit Feb 8. The sprawling displays span a combined 42,000 square feet and feature Cunningham in the context of his many collaborative partners, who created music, set pieces, backdrops, and costumes for his works, as well as the many advances Cunningham spearheaded through the use technologies such as motion-capture video to create and document his dances.

In the Chicago exhibit's opening presentations Feb. 11, curator Lynne Warren and the Walker Center's Philip Bither and Joan Rothfuss were on hand for a tour of the MCA's fourth floor, and dance fans will find recognizable set pieces like Robert Rauschenberg's 1958 massive speckled backdrop from "Summerspace," Frank Stella's primary-colored rectangular banners created for the 1967 premiere of "Scramble" at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL, and Andy Warhol's whimsical mylar pillows, which bounced about in Cunningham's "RainForest" in 1968.

Cunningham first made his mark as a dancer, working for the Martha Graham Dance Company before breaking off to form his own company in the early 1950s. Today he is recognized as one of the greatest and most prolific American choreographers in modern history, having produced hundreds of works with a radical approach to dance and choreography. Until Cunningham, most choreographers built dances directly to music, either working closely with a composer or designing steps that accompanied existing musical scores.

"Common Time" refers to Cunningham's philosophy that artistic mediums could be created independently and convened in a performance space, having in common nothing more than the time at which they occur. Dances were created in silence, as a "dance for dance's sake"—that is, with no specific narrative behind it. Cunningham's artistic collaborators, in a sense, weren't collaborators at all. Members of the design team were often given free license to create whatever they wanted, with few rules or specifications. In a way, this liberated the artists to do what they do, and created a performance experience whose mediums held equal weight.

It was a tenet Cunningham shared with composer John Cage, his life partner for more than five decades and most frequent artistic partner. Cage is perhaps most famous for a work called "4'33," which has no music or deliberate noise and is, indeed, four minutes and 33 seconds of whatever sounds the audience makes as they ( typically ) writhe in discomfort. He and Cunningham reveled in the random, employing chance in both the creative process and performance, creating an enormous challenge for the dancers.

By today's standards, the Cunningham technique appears balletic, and this is on display in video artist Charles Atlas's "MC9," an immersive installation showing film clips that span 35 years and fill an entire room of the exhibit. Cunningham employed turned out legs, leotards and tights, and rigid, regimented positions and postures. But any ballet dancer will tell you that a Cunningham work—sometimes referred to as "ballet off its axis"—is exceptionally hard, unforgiving, and something no ballet class can prepare her for. The legs go one way while the torso goes another, requiring a locus of control that is unlike any other dance technique. Former Cunningham dancer Paige Cunningham Caldarella ( no relation ) confirmed this at the press preview; showing bits of choreography spanning from "Summerspace" ( 1958 ) to "Interspace" ( 2000 ), she pointed out the difficulty of a Merce dance. His process might be random, but his expectation was precision. Caldarella said the most beautiful moments were those in which the dancers "honed" in on a way to make a seemingly impossible movement work in their bodies.

Throughout his seven decades as a choreographer, Cunningham's spirit of innovation and fearlessness for pushing the envelope are the mark he left on the field, not to mention the countless dancers and dancemakers who now carry the torch and continue to expand the definition of dance. His aesthetic was crystal clear, but Cunningham wasn't afraid to change, and the exhibit shows his artistic evolution. The balance between preserving Cunningham's legacy and further evolving the field are apparent in "Common Time," with five avant-garde performance events incorporating the latest technology complementing the retrospective exhibit.

The "Common Time" exhibition is open at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave., through April 30, Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Tuesdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays.

General admission is $12, with free admission on Tuesdays for all Illinois residents. Special performance programs affiliated with the exhibit are available for an additional cost. For more information on these programs, visit MCAChicago.org . Merce Cunningham's works are also meticulously archived by the Merce Cunningham Trust, online at MerceCunningham.org .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Dance for Life raises $233,000+ for dancers with critical health and life issues 2017-09-22 - Chicago Dancers United ( CDU ), which mobilizes Chicago's dance community by raising funds through dance, welcomed nearly 2,300 guests at the 26th ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Rumer Willis spins tunes and tales at Hard Rock 2017-09-20 - Actres/singer Rumer Willis has carved out a strong career on her own, apart from being the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. ...


Gay News

FALL DANCE PREVIEW Innovation abounds this fall 2017-09-13 - Chock full of innovative performances by local independent dance makers as well as opportunities to see new work from some of the most ...


Gay News

Auditorium to mark 50th anniv. with dance companies 2017-09-13 - On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m., the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., will commemorate the 50th anniversary of its grand reopening ...


Gay News

People react swiftly to DeVos' changing Title IX guidance 2017-09-11 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) was among those groups and individuals who expressed concern over the decision by U.S. Secretary of ...


Gay News

PFLAG responds to DeVos' planned change to campus sexual assault guidance 2017-09-08 - WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, PFLAG National—the nation's largest and oldest organization uniting families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...


Gay News

Illinois Attny Gen blasts US Sec of Ed's scrapping of guidance on campus assault 2017-09-08 - Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today condemned Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' decision to replace guidance that ensured college campuses around the country ...


Gay News

'Queens on Wheels' Sept. 8-10 2017-09-06 - Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, 12 S. Michigan Ave., and Do312 bring back their skate night series with a weekend of "Queens on Wheels" ...


Gay News

Education, Justice sued for papers on guidance withdrawal regarding trans students 2017-08-23 - NEW YORK ( August 23, 2017 ) — Lambda Legal yesterday filed a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. Departments of Education and ...


Gay News

Dance for Life stuns while raising funds 2017-08-23 - The 26th annual Dance For Life gala and concert—held Aug. 19 at the Auditorium Theatre— continued the tradition of serving as a fundraiser ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.