For the Centennial, High Line Art presents three of Cunningham’s choreographies for camera. A perpetual innovator and routine collaborator, Cunningham worked with artists, musicians, dancers, scenographers, and more. In particular, he used film to both document his performances and as a medium in its own right, often collaborating with filmmakers to stage dances specifically made for the camera. For this program, High Line Art will screen three such works: Beach Birds for Camera (1992), made in collaboration with director and filmmaker Elliot Caplan, and Locale (1980) and Channels/Inserts (1982), made in collaboration with the artist Charles Atlas. Atlas is an American filmmaker and video artist who has worked across film, dance, and performance for decades, and was a lighting designer at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Caplan was the filmmaker-in-residence at the Cunningham Dance Foundation from 1983 – 1998 and worked closely with both Cunningham and his partner, the musician John Cage, in the realization of many works.
“We’re thrilled to be participating in this worldwide celebration of Cunningham’s work,” says Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator. “There’s always a question as to how a dance lives on after its conception, so it’s exciting to present today’s audiences with his works in their original medium and showcase Cunningham’s devotion to collaboration.”
Merce Cunningham (1919 – 2009) is one of the most widely celebrated choreographers of his time. In 2019, the Merce Cunningham Trust will host a worldwide celebration of Cunningham’s life with performances, screenings, and other events to mark the centenary of his birth. Throughout his 70-year career, Cunningham continued to innovate, helping to drive the evolution of the American avant-garde and expanding the frontiers of contemporary visual and performing arts. His approach to performance was groundbreaking in its ideological simplicity and physical complexity. His collaborations with artists from every creative discipline yielded an unparalleled body of North American dance, music, and visual art.
ABOUT HIGH LINE ART
Presented by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art commissions and produces public art projects on and around the High Line. Founded in 2009, High Line Art presents a wide array of artwork including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions. Led by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, and produced by Friends of the High Line, High Line Art invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the unique architecture, history, and design of the High Line, and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape.