John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Robert Rauschenberg in 1964. Sadler Wells, 1964. Image courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust / photo Douglas Jeffrey / © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Overheard at the Princeton University Art Museum: “It’s more conceptual than his usual stuff; there are no hanging things.”
Robert Rauschenberg’s “Plank” is overpowering in size, and if you’re here in search of “hanging things” your eye may drift toward the work next to it.
With a celestial body made from a crackled red paint can lid encircled with spokes of rusty gears, it strikes the viewer as familiar. The two-tined meat fork, hammer and tweezers also strike a familial chord in “Tu est Moi” (“You are Me”) by Niki de Saint Phalle.
It is often the banal and the familiar that connect us to art, making us feel it’s a part of our lives. With “Plank,” it’s the bicycle and construction signs and barriers that draw a viewer in. “Plank” was created as a backdrop for a Merce Cunningham dance performance.
XOVER, 2007. Choreography Merce Cunningham, music John Cage, décor and costumes Robert Rauschenberg, lighting Josh Johnson. Rehearsal on the night before the first performance, October 5, 2007, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Dancers: Andrea Weber and Daniel Squire. © Anna Finke; courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust/Backdrop © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Rauschenberg served as resident designer for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1954 through 1964 and created sets and costumes for a number of the company’s early works. Many were his iconic “combines” – i.e., with hanging things.
Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts and Princeton University Art Museum are presenting an evening of dance and art inspired by the collaborations between Cunningham and Rauschenberg February 14, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Princeton University Art Museum.
Following a tour of the exhibition, students from the Program in Dance will perform a “MinEvent for Princeton”: a combination of excerpts of Cunningham choreography, staged by Silas Riener, a former member of Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The music for Continue reading