October 28, 2018–March 31, 2019
(Los Angeles—September 13, 2018) The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is pleased to present Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens, an exploration of choreographer Merce Cunningham’s dynamic artistic collaborations. Cunningham (1919–2009) revolutionized dance through his partnerships with leading artists who created costumes, films, music, and décor and whose independent creative instincts he held in the highest regard. Known for embracing risk and chance, Cunningham believed in the radical notion that movement, sound, and visual art could exist independently of each other, coming together only during the “common time” of a performance. Spanning BCAM, Level 1, the exhibition features immersive installations by Charles Atlas and Andy Warhol, two artists associated with the choreographer’s company, along with two video projections of early dances by Cunningham.
Anticipating the celebration of Cunningham’s centennial, Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens is organized by José Luis Blondet, curator of special initiatives at LACMA, and is excerpted from Merce Cunningham: Common Time, a major survey of the artist’s collaborative projects organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in 2017.
During his prolific 60-year career, choreographer Merce Cunningham (1919–2009) revolutionized dance by challenging every aspect of the form, and in the process inventing wholly new ways to create and present his work. Perhaps most radical was his idea that all the elements of a dance—movement, music, costumes, and décor—could be created independently of one another, coming together only during the “common time” of a performance.
This exhibition presents two large works made by artists associated with the choreographer’s company—Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds and Charles Atlas’s MC9. Warhol’s whimsical Silver Clouds was used as décor for Cunningham’s 1968 dance RainForest. MC9, short for “Merce Cunningham to the ninth power,” is an immersive installation with excerpts from 21 dances for camera and documentary videos Atlas made with Cunningham. Two videos of early Cunningham dances are screened in an adjacent gallery: Changeling (1958), a solo piece, and Night Wandering (1964), a duet with star dancer Carolyn Brown.