2019 marks the centennial of Merce Cunningham’s birth, providing an occasion to reflect on the choreographer’s profound influence. As part of a global celebration that will include performances of original dances, new productions, exhibitions, and educational initiatives, Anthology hosts a screening series focused on Cunningham’s films and videos, calling attention to the presence of the moving image throughout his career.
Cunningham’s radical departure from classical dance choreography, especially from a fixed proscenium-perspective staging, often integrated bold experiments with visual and aural media to emphasize multiple viewpoints and a mutable, involving relationship between dancer and observer. The diversity of formats Cunningham made use of is astounding, ranging from film and video to imaging software, and each media’s associated stage: cinema, television, and computers. Taken together, this series offers an opportunity to appreciate the innovations Cunningham nurtured through his collaborations with such key figures as Charles Atlas, Elliot Caplan, John Cage, David Tudor, and Takehisa Kosugi. Kosugi passed away in October, and this installment of the centennial series hence pays tribute to his life and work as well.
The Cunningham Centennial and its programs are generously supported with major funding from the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Paul L. Wattis Foundation, American Express, and Judith Pisar. Centennial Community Programs are supported with a major gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding has been provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, Judy and Alan Fishman, Molly Davies, Myra Malkin, and Barbara Pine.
Presented in collaboration with the Merce Cunningham Trust and Electronic Arts Intermix; special thanks to Ken Tabachnick (Merce Cunningham Trust), Rebecca Cleman (EAI), and Tanisha Jones (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts).