Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens

BCAM, Level 1
October 28, 2018–March 31, 2019
Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens

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.

Anticipating the celebration of Cunningham’s centennial, 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.

The presentation of Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and adapted from the exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time, organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

All exhibitions at LACMA are underwritten by the LACMA Exhibition Fund. Major annual support is provided by Kitzia and Richard Goodman and Meredith and David Kaplan, with generous annual funding from Jerry and Kathleen Grundhofer, the Judy and Bernard Briskin Family Foundation, Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation, Emily and Teddy Greenspan, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross, Mary and Daniel James, David Lloyd and Kimberly Steward, David Schwartz Foundation, Inc., Andy Song, Lenore and Richard Wayne, and The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation.

Image: Charles Atlas, MC⁹, 2012, Collection Walker Art Center; T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2015, © Charles Atlas, photo by Gene Pittman, courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis